The musical myth-building journey continues for Bear and a Banjo stars “Jingle Jared” Gutstadt and Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd with their latest collaborative single “New Beginning.” The accompanying visual is premiering exclusively on Billboard today (Feb. 20).
Bear and a Banjo is a scripted podcast in which the titular traveling duo — voiced by creator and guitarist Gutstadt and seasoned songwriter Boyd — become active participants in a string of pivotal moments in American music history through coincidental interactions with the likes of Leadbelly and Little Richard. The pair write and record their own songs throughout the show while managing to attract contributions from producer T-Bone Burnett, Bob Dylan and Zac Brown.
Now with its debut season wrapped, the team is unveiling an official soundtrack with the original music from the series as well as “New Beginning,” which resulted from Gutstadt and Boyd’s time in the studio together. Despite its absence from the series, the song played a crucial role in developing the sound of the rest of the set.
“‘New Beginning’ is actually a fitting song to release at the end point of this project. It was the first song that Poo Bear and I recorded as Bear and a Banjo,” Gutstadt tells Billboard. “The two of us had met a few days earlier at a bar through Justin Bieber and immediately hopped into action as Bear and a Banjo for the podcast. We have always loved this song and were waiting for the right moment to release it.”
The song’s soul-quaking slow-burn crackles with the same fiery southern blues that embodies the rest of the soundtrack, and while it doesn’t arrive with an elaborate serial in tow, “New Beginning” finds Bear and a Banjo breaking into the visual medium. Gutstadt recalls the experience as special not only due to his behind-the-scenes personal connection with director Krista Liney, who he credits with giving him his “first break in television,” but also the powerfully evocative presentation of the visual’s setting.
“The music video was shot on a plantation in New Orleans, which has historical significance within the musical journey that we embedded in and wrote into the series itself for Bear and a Banjo,” Gutstadt shares. “It was a pretty amazing sequence of events.”
Bear and a Banjo is produced by Jingle Punks in association with iHeart Podcast Networks and began airing in late 2019. The soundtrack is set to arrive on Feb. 21 via EMPIRE Nashville.
Check out the visual for “New Beginning” below.