“I need my checks to clear”: Guitarist who played on Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter explains why the album remained a secret for so long

The record was originally intended to be released before her RENAISSANCE album, which landed in 2022.

[L-R] Justus West and Beyoncé

Credit: Getty Images

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Justus West, a guitarist who played on Beyoncé’s new album, COWBOY CARTER, has explained why the many collaborators featured on the record were able to keep quiet about it for so long.

Beyoncé released the record on 29 March as Act II in a suspected trilogy of albums. It follows on from her 2022 record, RENAISSANCE, and explores the country genre with features from the likes of Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus.

In a press release at the launch of COWBOY CARTER (via Variety), Beyoncé revealed that it was actually intended to be released first before RENAISSANCE. She said that the album took over five years to make, and explained, “I was initially going to put COWBOY CARTER out first, but with the pandemic, there was too much heaviness in the world. We wanted to dance. We deserved to dance. But I had to trust God’s timing.”

The huge gap from when the album was first recorded to its current release has had listeners questioning how on earth no information about it ever got out online.

As West explains, for a collaborator on such a huge release to give away any details would be “career suicide”. On Threads, West – who played guitar parts on the track 16 CARRIAGES – writes, “For those of us who worked on the album… it’s career suicide to get online and spill the beans.

“Not only would you be disbarred from the Beyoncé camp, no other artist would trust you could keep confidence. You’d essentially be out of the circle of trust for big/major projects that require a level of silence.”

Responding to another post which agrees that keeping quiet is “not even difficult”, West replies: “Exactly. I need my checks to clear. Yes and amen.”

West not only works as a session guitarist, but also releases solo music. You can check out his most recent EP, Irregular Forms below:

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