Ian Noe Announces New Album ‘River Fools & Mountain Saints’
The elusive and enigmatic Ian Noe from Kentucky stunned many and left them hungry for more with his debut album Between The Country from 2019. But aside from some scant touring and appearances, the songwriter has been mostly out of the spotlight, with the away time allowing the hearts of his fans to grow even fonder. Now he’s ready to return in earnest with his second album called River Fools & Mountain Saints on March 25th, with the first song “Pine Grove (Madhouse)” out now (listen below).
Ian Noe considers the album the flip side to his debut, a lot more positive, and even funny in spurts, but once again drawn from the characters and landscapes of his native Kentucky, just like many of the songwriters of the region. With songs written both before and during the pandemic, he actually came up with the title of the album first, then wrote songs to fit that theme.
“I’ve got so much material I can write about, of stories of all these people and just life in general, growing up there,” Ian Noe says. “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.”
Working with Dave Cobb on his debut, this time Ian collaborated with producer Andrija Tokic, and took a bit more time in the studio. Some of the notable musicians on the album include “Little” Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs on bass, and keys player Derry deBorja of The 400 Unit.
“With Dave, we went and knocked it out in seven days, recorded and mixed. Two weeks, if you include the mastering,” Noe told The Influences in October. “This time I ended up going to a place called the Bomb Shelter, run by Andrija Tokic who recorded Alabama Shakes’ first album. I’ve always wanted to go and work with him, plus he works strictly to tape. It was a different experience and I enjoyed having no set time on how long I can work on a song, that way I can flesh it out. I think we recorded close to twenty tracks all together. Nothing against Dave Cobb’s process which was great too, but it was fun working on this one, it really was.”
The first song from the album “Pine Grove (Madhouse)” is very much a pandemic-era song. “There’s no denying this album was made during a pandemic, so figured I’d open it up with the word ‘stranded.’ This song is about being stuck, being isolated, but making the most of it. It’s also an ode to the all the party houses I’ve frequented and making music.”
River Fools & Mountain Saints will be released via Thirty Tigers, and is now available for pre-order.
1. Pine Grove (Madhouse)
2. River Fool
3. Lonesome as It Gets
4. Strip Job Blues 1984
5. Tom Barrett
6. Ballad of a Retired Man
7. Mountain Saint
8. One More Night
9. POW Blues
10. Burning Down the Prairie
11. Appalachia Haze
12. Road May Flood / It’s a Hurricane
January 14, 2022 @ 8:39 am
January 14, 2022 @ 8:41 am
Oh, this is gonna be a good one. Between the Country is one of my top 5 albums of the 2010s.
January 14, 2022 @ 8:43 am
Been looking forward to this announcement. His shop goes live at 10am Central Time today. Will be preordering there as soon as it is up.
January 14, 2022 @ 8:56 am
Every time Ian Noe pops up on my shuffle I say to myself “I need to listen to more Ian Noe.” Then I forget him entirely, and now I kinda think he likes it that way.
January 14, 2022 @ 9:45 am
Was thinking the same. Especially when I hear Letter to Madeline.
January 14, 2022 @ 8:57 am
I know it’s still early, but so far this is the best news this year.
January 14, 2022 @ 9:13 am
Between this and the new Lost Dog Street Band album we’re starting the year off strong for Kentucky musicians. I’m a bit biased as a proud Kentuckian but I believe over the last few years we are reclaiming the throne of being a musical powerhouse of a state. The talent coming out of here is unreal. Especially with how many folks are leaning into their cultural identity of being influenced by this place. Much love to West Virginia and Tennessee for the nearby cross-pollination too. Here’s to hoping we finally get that new Local Honey’s album this year!
January 14, 2022 @ 9:35 am
Good news. I’m really looking forward to this.
January 14, 2022 @ 9:49 am
Relieved to see his absence was due to him just being a hermit in the studio.
I was kinda getting worried there for a bit.
January 14, 2022 @ 10:10 am
If you haven’t heard his “The Last Stampede” with Jam in the Van on youtube you are missing out. Great song and great production by the crew. One of my favorites from him.
January 14, 2022 @ 8:06 pm
I came to the comments to say this exact thing. It’s beyond perfect.
January 14, 2022 @ 8:17 pm
January 14, 2022 @ 8:47 pm
“Great song and great production by the crew. One of my favorites from him.”
Thanks Trig, for putting the Jam in The Van video up
January 15, 2022 @ 7:45 am
Thanks for the mention of this song. Not heard it before. Wow! Brilliant!
January 14, 2022 @ 10:28 am
This should be good. Really liked his last album
January 14, 2022 @ 10:51 am
The last Ian Noe album has become a personal classic for me. It never gets old or wears thin. First time I saw him live as an opener for Colter Wall, there was something very special there. Although, I got ripped on this website from someone when I said he just needed a little bit of seasoning live. LOL. The next time I saw him live, he was intense. It was one of those Tuesday night, $15.00 shows, that I will just remember as riveting. There are actually quite a few videos of that show on Youtube (Live at Great Scott). I’ve been checking in with him every so often and there was just no news. Someone previously mentioned getting worried about him. LOL. This is great great news.
January 17, 2022 @ 10:40 am
Album was on constant rotation for me after it came out, but boy did going to see him live (in London) knock a hole in that, and it took a while for me to be able to enjoy it again
After half an hour of the screwed-up, this-is-hurting-me-more-than-it’s-hurting-you phizzog (see in the YT vids) *during* songs, and no audience participation whatsoever between them (presumably to allow his face to recover), it started to get comical. Another half an hour and comic turned to irritating we waltzed out. And I’m a guy who’s had plenty of ‘lighten ups’ chucked his way.
I know not everyone can have Prine level of bantz, but some acknowledgment that there is an audience, something other than flying through a set of ‘might as well listen to the recorded version’ renditions of his songs wouldn’t go amiss.
January 17, 2022 @ 3:01 pm
Seems like we had a different experience. Ian is very intense. However, he was engaging with the audience at the show I was at. Gave background on inspirations and what he was thinking when he wrote a few of them.
I can’t wait to see him again.
Did he have the band with him?
He started out acoustic, maybe 4-5 songs, then brought out the band and kicked things up.
January 18, 2022 @ 4:41 am
No band. Perhaps it was a London Homesick Blues thing. You certainly got the better deal!
I realise my only other gig contribution on here was negative one (Justin Townes Earle – in London also as I live there). So…
I know no-one on here’s keeping count, but for the record we’ve seen superb gigs here from Mr. Prine, Tyler Childers, Sturgill, Mandolin Orange and Caroline Spence. The big benefit of being an English country fan is these guys play in much more intimate (OK – Sturgill not so much) venues. Saw Prine and Childers on separate nights playing sets in a record shop – latter just before Tyler took off big time.
While I’m here, giving a shout out to someone I’ve seen a few times and who’s sort of SCM adjacent (not sure I’ve ever seen him mentioned here?). If you like Noe, you might (already?) dig Jeffrey Martin
This album, ahem, ‘spoke to me’ during a particularly trying period of my life;
January 14, 2022 @ 11:00 am
My first thought upon listening to this guy is hmmm…he sounds like Dylan. In many regards, the cadence of his rhymes, the enunciation on certain syllables, the vocal inflections, and even the style and structure of many of his songs. I also hear a vocal similarity to Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. Hes doing a folk style in general, some of the songs dont feature a catchy chorus or monster hook, but rather a repeated verse pattern that kind of goes on forever, not unlike Dylan. Hes wordy.
Its not a bad thing. Country? Eh….Americana folk with country influence i think. The steel guitar and keyboard do bring some depth to it musically. Its pleasant sounding. Songwriting is pretty good. I think the Charles Godwin fans will also like Ian. Hes kind of a listening room act. Not gonna burn the honky-tonk down, but a fine singer-songwriter adding yet another name to the growing Kentucky scene.
January 15, 2022 @ 7:58 am
His sound does remind of Dylan in the mid ’70s. Blood on the Tracks and Desire albums. Maybe the latter more specifically. The use of female harmony vocals on the Between the Country album reminds me of Bob and Emmylou on Desire.
January 18, 2022 @ 5:50 am
Luckily, you got to see him play. In Nijmegen, The Netherlands he was supposed to do an afternoon gig. He showed up only to leave an hour later cause het didn’t like the setup or something.
January 14, 2022 @ 11:00 am
Ian Noe – If We Make It Through December (Merle Haggard)
Filmed & edited by Matthijs van der Ven.
Audio recorded & mixed by Matthijs van der Ven.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Favorite song of Ian’s, thus far.
Production is Stellar. CLEAN.
Matthijs van der Ven, captured it 100%.
January 14, 2022 @ 1:38 pm
So happy to pre-order this one. Ian is my favorite new song writer in recent years. He seems kind of like the musical equivalent of Cormac McCarthy sometimes.
January 14, 2022 @ 5:25 pm
The prospects for 2022 just keep getting better and better.
January 14, 2022 @ 8:48 pm
Ian Noe’s last album came out around the same time as Charles Wesley Godwin and Gabe Lee’s first albums. All top shelf stuff. I’d put them all in the same class as Benjamin Tod, Arlo McKinley, and John R. Miller. Not necessarily as songwriters or style, but more so the vibe they all put out. Looking forward to this.
January 15, 2022 @ 8:03 am
Great news. His Between the Country album is one that has really stuck with me. Listened to it this morning with my coffee and breakfast and followed it up with Arlo McKinley’s Die Midwestern.