Jett Holden Shares Mythical New Single “West Virginia Sky”

Article Contributed by Missing Piece Group | Published on Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Today, Jett Holden shares “West Virginia Sky,” the echoing new single from his debut album The Phoenix, which is out October 4 as the first release on the newly-launched Black Opry Records. As the song moves forward over keys and a sauntering steel guitar, it shifts from the mystical to material and reveals a story about a family slowly losing its matriarch. Paying homage to his favorite view growing up in West Virginia, Jett says “This is the way I love to tell a story.”

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“‘West Virginia Sky' was inspired by Autumn in West Virginia,” Jett explains. “Growing up, we would visit my grandparents in West Virginia every Thanksgiving. It was my favorite time of the year largely because of the changing colors. When I decided to write this song, I knew I wanted to write a myth that explained why the colors change and the leaves fall from the trees.” He continues, “The myth tells the story of the rising and setting Sun as he watches over his wife, the Phoenix. She's become ill, and the Sun realizes he's losing her. Every night he sets in the west and dreams of his distant children who only remain in his orbit out of obligation, and then wakes to see his wife's feathers molting away as she slowly succumbs to cancer. All the while, he holds onto the hope that he'll join her again when he goes supernova.”

Recorded at Cartoon Moon Recording Studio in East Nashville, The Phoenix was produced by CMA and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Will Hoge and features guest vocal performances from ACM and Grammy-nominated artist Cassadee Pope and critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter Emily Scott Robinson. “West Virginia Sky” follows Jett’s debut single “Backwood Proclamation,” which features Charlie Worsham and John Osborne on electric guitar. The unabashed love song has garnered early coverage from Rolling Stone and Billboard, who hailed the “smoky-voiced” singer and his “infectious, rock-tinged first single.”

Launched in partnership with Thirty Tigers, Black Opry Records continues the mission of The Black Opry, an organization and touring collective focused on celebrating and supporting Black roots and country artists. The Phoenix represents a full-circle journey for both Black Opry founder Holly G and Jett Holden, who had just given up pursuing a career as an artist when Holly stumbled upon his music online. Moved by the painfully earnest songwriting she heard in his unfinished track “Taxidermy,” Holly convinced him to finish the song and secured him a grant to record it through Rissi Palmer’s Color Me Country Artist Fund. Written in response to police brutality, the powerful song opens the new album, setting the stage for a collection of raw, honest confessionals reflecting on Jett’s experience as a Black, queer man growing up in the rural South.

As he toes the line between country and classic rock, Jett’s gritty vocals and evocative lyrics set him apart in a genre where Black musicianship is still so rarely championed. Now that he’s finally sharing his voice, he knows how important it is to be an example of what’s possible, explaining “I write the music I wish I heard when I was growing up. If someone hears my music and it makes them feel safe and less alone, it’s done its job, and I’ve done my job.”

The Phoenix Tracklist
1. Taxidermy
2. Necromancer
3. Karma (feat. Cassadee Pope)
4. Perfect Storm
5. Scarecrow
6. When I’m Gone (feat. Emily Scott Robinson)
7. Better Off
8. 65611
9. West Virginia Sky
10. Backwood Proclamation (feat. Charlie Worsham, John Osborne)