Wilco is going all-in on country for the band’s coming double album, Cruel Country, due out on May 27th via dBpm Records. Thursday’s album announcement arrived alongside the lead single, “Falling Apart (Right Now)”.

The 21-track collection hears the band forever tagged as “alt-country” dropping the “alt.” On “Falling Apart (Right Now)”, the band adopts numerous staple facets of classic country, from rockabilly rhythm to lap steel guitar.

“I think there’s been an assumption over the years that Wilco is some sort of country band,” frontman Jeff Tweedy wrote in a lengthy letter about the new album. “There’s a lot of evidence to support that way of thinking about our band because there have been elements of country music in everything we’ve ever done. But to be honest, we’ve never been particularly comfortable with accepting that definition of the music we make. With this album though, I’ll tell you what, Wilco is digging in and calling it country.”

The group’s first new album since 2019’s Ode To Joy was recorded live at Wilco’s The Loft studio in Chicago. The live experience was defined by minimal overdubbing, with Tweedy comparing the recording experience to that of 2007’s Sky Blue Sky.

“It’s a style of recording that forces a band to surrender control and learn to trust each other, along with each others’ imperfections, musical and otherwise,” he said. “With no ‘one’ person in charge, the goal can be vague. But a certain type of faith emerges. A belief that we’re all heading toward the same destination, and we either get there together or not at all. It’s messy. Like democracy.”

Related: Watch Bob Weir, Bill Frisell, & Greg Leisz Cover The Beatles With Wilco At Sound Summit

Though Wilco adopted many of the conventions of classic country, don’t expect the trucks and Bud Light adulterated brand of stadium twang. The band is bringing to the genre its perspective that is equal parts introspective and melancholic.

“More than any other genre, country music, to me, a white kid from middle-class middle America, has always been the ideal place to comment on what most troubles my mind — which for more than a little while now has been the country where I was born, these United States,” Tweedy said. “And because it is the country I love, and because it’s country music that I love, I feel a responsibility to investigate their mirrored problematic natures. I believe it’s important to challenge our affections for things that are flawed. I feel like these defining parts of who we are demand introspection. No one should need to ask. We should feel compelled to contemplate. To ask if there are ways to fix things, if there are things that just need to be accepted. And maybe to see if we can stop trying to figure out how to separate two things that can’t be separated.”

Check out “Falling Apart (Right Now)”, the lead single from the forthcoming Wilco album Cruel Country, available here for pre-order. The band will celebrate the double LP’s release at its Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, MA May 27th–29th. For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit Wilco’s website. Scroll down for the full Cruel Country tracklist and album artwork.

Wilco – “Falling Apart (Right Now)”

Cruel Country Tracklist

1. I Am My Mother
2. Cruel Country
3. Hints
4. Ambulance
5. The Empty Condor
6. Tonightʼs the Day
7. All Across the World
8. Darkness Is Cheap
9. Bird Without a Tail / Base of My Skull
10. Tired of Taking It Out on You
11. The Universe
12. Many Worlds
13. Hearts Hard to Find
14. Falling Apart (Right Now)
15. Please Be Wrong
16. Story to Tell
17. A Lifetime to Find
18. Country Song Upside-down
19. Mystery Binds
20. Sad Kind of Way
21. The Plains

View Tracklist