We have already heard the country-tinged ‘Down By The Water’ from The Decemberists, and now we get another taste of their forthcoming album, The King Is Dead. And a Grateful Dead cover.

After the rock assualt of The Hazards of Love, Colin Meloy et al still seem afraid to pick up the electric guitar. ‘January Hymn’ is a solemn and laid back affair. If he is going for the quintessential Americana sound, then he has certainly attained it.

As for the Grateful Dead cover, it is a b-side to ‘January Hymn’ which is released (in America at least) in conjunction with the Record Store Day people.

The Decemberists – ‘January Hymn’

The Decemberists – ‘Row Jimmy’

The King Is Dead features special guest appearances by Americana luminary Gillian Welch and legendary REM guitarist Peter Buck, so don’t expect things to pick up too much by the time the album comes out on January 14. Colin Meloy said: ““Hazards was actually a bit self-destructive. We knew people might have a hard time getting into it. On tour, we would play the whole thing—but once we were onstage at Bonnaroo or wherever, I just kind of wanted to play some normal songs!”

Here is the tracklisting:

1. Don’t Carry It All
2. Calamity Song
3. Rise to Me
4. Rox in the Box
5. January Hymn
6. Down By the Water
7. All Arise!
8. June Hymn
9. This is Why We Fight
10. Dear Avery

The Decemberists play Vicar Street on March 4.

And here is The Grateful Dead playing ‘Row Jimmy’.