Chicago craftsman Mark Nelson will release a new album as Pan•American album on Kranky in November, titled A Son.

A Son is motivated by notions of “moving backward” and tracing roots. It’s described by the label as “less a distillation or divergence than it is a return his musical and spiritual beginnings.” It’s spare, subdued, and largely acoustic, and unfurls “like late summer dusk on the edge of town, expansive but intimate.”

The album’s nine songs were written and recorded in Nelson’s home in Evanston, Illinois, and honed during a recent solo tour in Europe. Nelson cites everything from June Tabor, The Carter Family, Suicide, and Jimmy Reed as oblique inspirations, though his truest muse was creative self-inquiry: “What does music do, Where does music start? How simple can it be? How honest can it be?”

Nelson released his first Pan•American album on Kranky in 1997, and he’s since put out five more, the latest coming in 2013, titled Cloud Room, Glass Room.


01. Ivory Joe Hunter, Little Walter
02. Memphis Helena
03. Sleepwalk Guitars
04. Brewthru
05. Dark Birds Empty Fields
06. Drunk Father
07. Muriel Spark
08. Kept Quiet
09. Shenandoah

A Son LP is out November 8.