R.E.M will release the first music from the sessions for their new album on a CD which will accompany a special music issue of an American literary magazine. It will be the first new REM music released since drummer Bill Berry quit the band last year.
The track, a ballad called ‘Why Not Smile’, will be included on a CD of music available with the June edition of Oxford American, a literary journal based in Oxford, Mississippi. The title studies and collates the last 50 years of music from the southern United States.
The news comes in a report on music website Wall Of Sound which adds that ‘Why Not Smile’ could surface on the band’s new album, which is rumoured to be released this October. The track was recorded in San Francisco earlier this year during sessions for the new, as yet untitled, album.
REM agreed to give the magazine the track after being approached to contribute a piece to an earlier music-based issue. The band declined at that time, but told the magazine to contact them at a later date, according to editor Marc Smirnoff. The latest request, however, the journal’s request for material fitted in with REM’s recording schedule.
The CD, which highlights music from the last 50 years, also features an unreleased Vic Chesnutt song called ‘Duty Free’. Other artists featured include The Mavericks, Ben Folds Five and Nanci Griffith, as well as earlier artists such as Bobbie Gentry, Louis Jordan and and Johnny Mercer.