Vincent Neil Emerson is helping to fill a very vital space and legacy in American songwriting as a native Texan stepping into the void created by the loss of legacy writers such as Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. Thoughtful but engaging, with a sound that borrows from rock as well as country, he’s fun to see live, but is also valuable as a wordsmith.
Following up his 2021 self-titled album, Vincent Neil Emerson has now solicited the services of Shooter Jennings to produce his latest effort called The Golden Crystal Kingdom out on November 10th. The name might be fantastical, but this is not a kid’s record. Instead, Emerson is digging deep into his Choctaw-Apache roots to tell stories inspired by his heritage.
You hear and see this on the album’s debut song and video, “Little Wolf’s Invincible Yellow Medicine Paint.” It stars Native American bareback horse race champion Sharmaine Weed, and was shot on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming by Mike Vanata of YouTube Channel Western AF fame.
“The story was, basically, that a medicine man was tasked with motivating warriors to go into battle—they were going up against a bunch of white men with guns, and they knew they were going to die if they went into battle—and he came up with this special paint, this yellow medicine paint, and said, ‘If you wear this into battle, you’ll be invincible. No arrow can pierce you. No bullet can pierce you,’” Emerson says.
With the Native American themes in his music, this also gives Emerson a bit of a Western texture. But he says the album’s approach is very much inspired by folk rock legends like Leon Russell and Link Wray. The tuning of the new song uses a Neil Young-style D modal approach.
Vincent Neil Emerson is also one of the beneficiaries of his label La Honda Records partnering with RCA recently ahead of the release of fellow label mate Colter Wall’s album Little Songs. This gives the La Honda roster an independent spirit and flexibility, but a bigger level of support behind them.
The Golden Crystal Kingdom is now available for pre-order/pre-save.
1. Time of the Rambler
2. The Golden Crystal Kingdom
3. Time of the Cottonwood Trees
4. I’ll Meet You in Montana
5. Hang Your Head Down Low
7. Blackland Prairies
8. On the Banks of the Old Guadalupe
9. The Man From Uvalde
10. Voices (On the Spanish Isle)
11. Clover on the Hillside
12. Little Wolf’s Invincible Yellow Medicine Paint
This story has been updated.