Listen to ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons’ new spoken-word solo tune, “Desert High”

Credit: Blain Clausen

Billy Gibbons has released a second advance track from his forthcoming third solo album, Hardware.  It’s a brooding, atmospheric story song called “Desert High” that features a spoken-word narrative by the ZZ Top singer/guitarist accompanied by reverb-drenched guitar.

As previously reported, Hardware, which will be released June 4, was recorded last summer at a studio in California’s high desert with ex-Guns N’ Roses member Matt Sorum on drums and a second guitarist, Austin Hanks.

The lyrics of “Desert High” clearly were influenced by the location of the sessions, with mentions of rattlesnakes, cactus, coyotes and scorpions, as well as California’s Joshua Tree park and the Salton Sea.

Gibbons also throws in some interesting music references, such as “The Lizard King,” the nickname of late Doors singer Jim Morrison, as well as Keith Richards and Keith’s late friend, Gram Parsons of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. Parsons died of a drug overdose in 1973 in a motel in Joshua Tree, California.

“The song is, perhaps, not typical of Hardware as a totality but it gives indication of the album’s desiccated sonic sensibility,” Gibbons says of “Desert High.” “The desert is a truly mysterious place and we were privileged to have spent all that time there absorbing the heat, the vibe and cranking it out.”

“Desert High” is available as a digital download and via streaming services, with a companion music video expected to be released soon. The first advance track released from Hardware was a surf-rock-inspired tune called “West Coast Junkie.”  You can pre-order Hardware now.

Meanwhile, Gibbons recently launched a YouTube series called Hardware: Under the Hood that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the album. You can check out the first episode now.

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