Arkansas-based folk singer, poet, and all-around sweetheart Willi Carlisle dropped a new single yesterday. However, Willi didn’t just give us new music. He also delivered some news that I’ve been waiting on since I interviewed Carlisle last year. His long-awaited album Peculiar, Missouri finally has an official release date. We can expect that to drop on July 15th. For now, we have the lead single “Tulsa’s Last Magician” and it is nothing short of beautiful.
Willi Carlisle took to social media yesterday to announce his new single and the release date of his upcoming album. In the post, he shared the cover art for Peculiar, Missouri as well as a heartfelt message to his fans.
In the caption, Willi Carlisle wrote, “Friends, I’m pleased as hell to share with you the cover and first single from my next record Peculiar, Missouri.” He let everyone know where they could stream “Tulsa’s Last Magician” and where to preorder the album. Then, he added, “I hope you enjoy it, truly.”
Carlisle went on to talk a little more about the heart and soul of the album. “The universe has a way of making you show your work, of making you prove the intellectual conclusions that you’ve come to. Here, in this forthcoming record, I’ve come to the conclusion that we are all worthy of being loved. 12 songs or so explore that.”
Digging into the New Willi Carlisle Single
Willi Carlisle picked one hell of a song to be the lead single from the new record. “Tulsa’s Last Magician” is a story song with an incredibly important message. Over a few verses, Willi tells the story of the song’s title character. He turned to magic in his formative years to escape issues at home. As he gets older and the world changes, he loses faith in the thing that kept him going for all those years. Then, Carlisle lays the moral of the story bare in the final verses.
So friend if you’re the kind that thinks no one quite gets quite what you are
Like you’re a cobbler or mechanic in this age of flying cars.
If you think that you see right behind what’s right before our eyes
You might be a small town’s last magician in disguise.
And we need you to be funny, please be good at sleight of hand.
‘Cause there’s a grand finale we can’t hope to understand.
And there’s a 1 in 52 chance it’s all magic and it’s true
So won’t you please help us believe in you?
Carlisle Treads New Sonic Ground with Peculiar, Missouri
When I talked to Willi back in September of last year, he said that he was taking his sound in a new direction. Up until now, most of Carlisle’s music has just been him, his voice, and whatever instrument he chose from his wide musical arsenal. However, he started playing with a full band last year. About that, he said, “I want to bring people to their feet and it’s a lot easier to do that with a tight country dance band and I’m just now realizing that. I’d say the record is a big growth for me.”
That growth is on full display in Willi Carlisle’s new single. The band adds some depth to the song without overshadowing Willi’s vocal delivery or songwriting prowess.
In short, July 15th can’t come soon enough.