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Ian Noe today releases LP ‘River Fools & Mountain Saints’ via Thirty Tigers





 “A gritty, compelling talent” **** The Observer

“Noe captures the tenor of the community he grew up in with sad, often heartbreaking brilliance” – NPR Music

Ian Noe’s sophomore album River Fools & Mountain Saints is out today through Thirty Tigers. A lyrically profound portrait of contemporary Appalachia, the record is supported by current single “Tom Barrett” – listen here. Noe will play a series of European live dates across May & June, including London’s Lafayette on Tuesday, May 31. Noe has also been confirmed to perform at this year’s End of The Road Festival (Sept 1 – 4).

Stream ‘River Fools & Mountain Saints’ here:

River Fools & Mountain Saints is the follow-up to Noe’s lauded debut Between The Country. Boasting a bigger sound and brighter tone, it highlights Noe’s storytelling prowess through 12 country rockers and Appalachian ballads. Noe sings about members of his community — like the pot-dealing woman who lives at the foothills of the mountains or a soldier who passed away – as well the landscape and natural disasters that inflict the region. On this record, Noe turns the lens inward too, telling more personal tales of heartbreak and loneliness. 

Noe says about new single ‘Tom Barrett’, “It’s about a relentless soldier’s life, inspired by local vets I used to know, or knew about. I talk about it a lot but juxtaposing dark themes or subject matter with upbeat melody is something I’ve always been drawn to. This song is an example of that.”

River Saints & Mountain Fools was recorded on reel-to-reel tapes in short spurts over the course of two years, without the pressure of time, which enabled a wider range of experimentations, collaborations, and sounds. As a result, it switches from rocking like Creedence Clearwater Revival to intoning like John Prine or Tom T. Hall; it swaggers with keys on songs like “Pine Grove (Madhouse),” bursts with French horn bombast “One More Night,” and swells with orchestrated strings on the gutting closing ballad, “Road May Flood/It’s A Heartache.” 

The title of River Fools & Mountain Saints came to Noe before any of the songs, serving as a concept and a guiding principle. “That landscape and that geography of growing up in Lee County, Kentucky,” he begins, “I’ve got so much material I can write about, of stories of all these people and just life in general, growing up there. You think about the river? It’s down here, it’s low. And then you got the mountains up high. You can go all over the place with that type of landscape, and that’s how the writing starts.” 

Noe indeed explores everywhere between the poles of the mountain and the river: from character studies on “Mountain Saint,” to honouring the Indigenous people of the region on “Burning Down The Prairie,” to the many veterans of his town on “POW Blues,” to the landscape and natural disasters beautifully depicted in “Appalachian Haze” and Road May Flood/It’s A Heartache,” which interpolates Bonnie Tyler’s classic 80’s love song. 

To that end, musically, Noe looked to a wide array of influences for this record, from Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and John Prine to M.I.A. and Courtney Barnett. Noe cites Alabama Shakes’ self-titled debut and Margo Price’s records as sounds that led him to work with producer Andrija Tokic in Nashville. “The fact that I got to work with him is surreal to me after all these years later…romanticising the sound he’s getting here and the name of the place — The Bomb Shelter,” he exudes. Noe also expanded his sound with the help of band members including “Little” Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs) on bass and Derry deBorja (Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit) on keys. 

Despite being written in quarantine and in the wake of natural disasters, River Fools and Mountain Saints remains a positive record. Noe maintains it’s about good moments growing up in a hard place. But most importantly, it’s about music as redemption, romanticism, and release

European live shows

31 May London / Lafayette

2 June Antwerp / Trix Bar

3 June Amsterdam / Paradiso Noord

4 June  Raalte / Ribs & Blues Festival

5 June  Venlo / Down By The River

7 June Cologne / Blue Shell

8 June Berlin / Privatclub

9 June Hamburg / Nochtwache

11 June Stockholm / Sthlm Americana

12 June Oslo / Oslo Americana

14 June Falkenberg / Hwitan

15 June Bergen / Bergenfest

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