Steve Earle didn't intend for his new album and upcoming novel -- both titled "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive" -- to connect, but in hindsight he's not surprised they did.
"This is the longest I've ever taken to write a record," Earle, who's Grammy Award-winning 2009 release "Townes" was comprised entirely of Townes Van Zandt songs, tells Billboard.com. "I partially made 'Townes' to give myself time and energy to work on the novel. It never occurred to me it was going to give me more time to work on songs, for the next record, too. I didn't go into the studio knowing what this record was about or what it would be called...But when I got it all together and started listening to it, I realized the songs were kind of about the same thing the book was about, which is mortality."
Earle recorded "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive," which is due April 26 on New West Records with the book publishing May 12 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, over five days just before Thanksgiving with producer T-Bone Burnett at Village Recorder in West Los Angeles. Earle says he's been impressed with Burnett's recent productions, particularly the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss "Raising Sand" project, and also wanted to have somebody else's hands on the wheel on his 14th studio outing.