Blues isn’t just twelve bars and a hard luck story. On his debut record, Hard Times and a Woman (coming April 15, 2022), guitarist and songwriter Justin Golden showcases the full breadth of the genre and its downstream influences, everything from country blues to Americana, soul, indie roots and beyond. Golden was raised on the Virginia coast and is steeped in the distinctive, fingerpicked Piedmont blues of the central part of the state. He’s studied country blues and can name any number of influences from Blind Boy Fuller to Taj Mahal, but his key inspirations have always come from the indie guitar realm, specifically friends like Phil Cook and Jo Roddy Walston, with a little Hiss Golden Messenger, Daniel Norgren, and Bon Iver mixed in and maybe a hint of James Taylor.
Recording his new album in the midst of the vibrant Richmond, VA scene, producer Chip Hale helped craft lush arrangements with Richmond artists around Golden’s classic Americana songwriting sensibilities. Fuzzed out guitar, keys, and harmonica meld with his deft fingerpicking and slow burning grooves. Across twelve tracks, Golden lays out a caution: be wary when things start going too well. The lyrics of Hard Times and a Woman reference winning (and then losing) it all, heartbreak, and the harsh realities of being Black in America. On his sparkling debut, Justin Golden arrives fully formed as a guitarist and a songwriter. It’s not just that he can move so fluidly between musical genres, it’s that he understands that the blues underpins nearly every American genre, and he hears the blues wherever he goes.