"The New Old Me" is a duet between the Australian country singer Angus Gill and the American outlaw country disrupter Steve Earle. The song plays out like a conversation, with Earle playing the part of the seasoned mentor, and Gill the reckless kid ready to make his own mistakes. "If you die, well, it's not my responsibility," Earle tells him.
Angus Gill told Songfacts the story behind this song. "My duet with Steve Earle, 'The New Old Me' started as a title on my phone. I've got over 6000 notes in my Notes app, a lot which relate to observations, thoughts and plenty of possible song titles. When the right title catches my eye on the right day, I'll have it spinning around in my head until I can make sense of it.
With 'The New Old Me,' I was catching up with a good friend and respected Australian songwriter Allan Caswell at his place in the Blue Mountains NSW. We sat down to write and I mentioned the title and concept I had in mind. I also had this Drop D outlaw country thing going on. We wrote the song quite quickly and it became apparent early on that the song was a duet. Songs have a way of revealing their truth to you and it's our job as writers to follow that path.
Initially, we wrote it as a duet for Cas and I, but then I mentioned that this could possibly be a song I record with Steve Earle. I've been friends with Steve for several years and I thought it would be the right song to do with him. I sent him the track, and thankfully he loved it and agreed to put a vocal down on it."
In the first verse, Steve Earle sings a line that's true to life:
I had a flair for screwing up, as most of you'd agree
Earle has spoke openly about his poor choices that resulted in seven divorces and a nasty drug habit (that he eventually kicked). The character he played in the TV series The Wire, which he described as "a redneck recovering addict," felt natural to him. Throughout his career, Earle has channeled his emotional scars into his songs.
This is the lead single from 3 Minute Movies, Angus Gill's first album with his band Angus Gill & Seasons of Change. The band is comprised of guys who played with another Australian singer, Paul Kelly:
Dan Kelly and Ashley Naylor: electric guitars
Peter "Lucky" Luscombe: drums
Bill McDonald: bass
Cameron Bruce: piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3 organ