Two years removed from the album's recording, and Pearson is still agonizing over the ordeal. To this day, he says he can't even listen to the record.

"The songs were personal," he says. "It was a personal experience, writing what's in front of [me] and trying to heal."

But, in the cathartic process, he's created the masterpiece of his career. The album has no hit single, no anthem and no sing-along, but it cuts to the core in a way that few albums ever have. And Pearson knows it, too: He hints that it might be more than 10 years for his next work to be released or, worse, that this one might be is last.

"I called it Last Of The Country Gentlemen because I didn't know if it would be the last or not," he admits.

Which is understandable. The pain it took him just to record the album, coupled with his jaded view of the record industry, keep him quite reluctant to bare his soul for all to see, as he has done here on this disc.

"All the trouble that you gotta go through to take it in front of people—it's a battle for me," he says. "It's really precious, sacred stuff."

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