One might listen to José Feliciano’s new song, “Behind This Guitar,” and assume that that it’s autobiographical. In the span of three-and-a-half minutes, the six-string legend takes us on a wistful journey of his early years as a budding guitarist and how he formed a lifelong partnership with the instrument.
Surprisingly though, “Behind This Guitar” was penned by the trio of Phil O’Donnell, Casey Beathard and Don Sampson. Country artist Mo Pitney covered it on his debut album of the same name in 2016.
Feliciano’s longtime producer Rick Jarrard heard the track and thought that the definitive version had yet to be recorded - and he knew by whom. All it took was one listen for Feliciano to agree.
“When I first heard the song, the lyrics were so connected to me, without the writers knowing who I was,” Feliciano recalls. “I really was taken aback by what it says. I never met those guys who wrote the song, but I used to sit up in bed with my guitar, practicing and playing and learning. There were times, years ago, when I would be playing my guitar and my fingers really did bleed. And there you have it.”
Throughout the breezy yet poignant track, Feliciano weaves elegant guitar melody lines between each vocal phrase, but the full tapestry unfurls when he takes off on a majestic and thrilling end solo.
As it turns out, Feliciano also chose “Behind This Guitar” as the title for his new record, which arrives on January 31, 2020. He will preview songs from the album at a special holiday show at New York’s Sony Hall on December 22.
You can grab tickets for the show here.