Few if any outfits in country and roots music can make their music rise to the epic and weighty level that Shane Smith and the Saints achieve through launching reverberative moments that you don’t merely enjoy, but experience deeply in a way that rings in your soul well after the final note has tolled.
It’s been five years since devotees of the Austin-based band have experienced this effect in album form, though they’ve had plenty of opportunities to take in these cinematic moments in the live context, not to mention seeing them in person on the hit show Yellowstone. But the time has come for a new album. To be called Norther, it will be released on March 1st, 2024. Suffice to say, it’s a highly anticipated one.
“We’d be on the road doing shows, and there would be a 48-hour gap where we’d fly into Dallas and try to record everything we possibly could, then fly right back to wherever the bus was. It was like that for the entirety of the recording process,” says lead singer and songwriter Shane Smith, whose barrel-chested baritone can ring like missives from the Almighty.
Joining the band’s namesake is the barefoot Bennett Brown on fiddle, guitarist Dustin Schaefer, bassist Chase Satterwhite, and drummer Zach Stover. Along with top flight musicianship, The Saints can also turn in four-part harmonies that you feel down to your bones, which helps underpin their blustery and emotional music with that much more meaning and mystery.
Beau Bedford produced the set, and even though Shane Smith and the Saints have sold out shows at prestigious places such as Red Rocks and the Ryman Auditorium, the hope is the new album will be the impetus to take the band to the next level.
“It’s like you can’t help but feel like you’ve paid your dues to get to a certain spot, but once you get there, you realize you’re just starting to touch the surface of the bigger picture,” Smith admits. “At the end of the day, it still feels like we’re getting discovered. But maybe that’s what it’s all about … If you spend 10 years playing dive bars and small clubs almost every single night, and you go to the merch booth after every show and hang out with the fans until the staff literally kicks you out, you get to turn those fans into friends. That’s how we built this thing.”
Followers of Shane Smith will already be familiar with some of the new songs. “Fire in the Ocean” was first featured on Yellowstone and released in 2022 along with the song “Hummingbird.” Another new song “The Greys Between” was released in late September, and they’ve revealed the song “Adeline” as part of the new album announcement.
Norther is now available for pre-order/pre-save.
1. Book of Joe
2. Fire in the Sky
4. The Greys Between
5. Navajo Norther
6. Field of Heather
8. All the Way
10. 1,000 Wild Horses
11. It’s Been a While
12. Everything and More
13. Fire in the Ocean