Article Contributed by Big Feat PR | Published on Saturday, March 5, 2022

Kentucky storyteller Ian Noe releases his third single “Burning Down The Prairie,” a driving roadhouse rocker from his forthcoming sophomore album River Fools & Mountain Saints set for release March 25 via Thirty Tigers. Watch the music video for “Burning Down The Prairie” here and pre-order River Fools & Mountain Saints here.

“Burning Down The Prairie” is a blues-rock explosion with pounding drums, culminating in a sonic breakdown reminiscent of mid-70s rockers like Creedence Clearwater and The Doors. Garden & Gun said of the song, “a muffled bass drum thumps below Noe’s fingerpicked electric guitar, his voice burrowing into the liminal spaces between both, telling a story of a people losing their land. Then, like a heavenly deluge, a raucous guitar solo takes over, pouring onto the valleys Noe and his band have created before settling back into the groove."

River Fools & Mountain Saints is the follow-up to Noe’s lauded Dave Cobb-produced debut Between The Country, praised by Rolling Stone as “an ode to the beauty of survival amidst bleakness” and NPR Music who praised its “heartbreaking brilliance.” But River Fools & Mountain Saints boasts a bigger sound and brighter tone, highlighting Noe’s storytelling prowess through 12 country rockers and Appalachian ballads.

River Fools & Mountain Saints

River Saints & Mountain Fools was recorded on reel-to-reel tapes in short spurts over the course of two years, without the pressure of time, which enabled a wider range of experimentations, collaborations, and sounds. As a result, it switches from rocking like Creedence Clearwater Revival to intoning like John Prine or Tom T. Hall; it swaggers with keys on songs like “Pine Grove (Madhouse),” bursts with French horn bombast “One More Night,” and swells with orchestrated strings on the gutting closing ballad, “Road May Flood/It’s A Heartache.”

The title of River Fools & Mountain Saints came to Noe before any of the songs, serving as a concept and a guiding principle. “That landscape and that geography of growing up in Lee County, Kentucky,” he begins, “I've got so much material I can write about, of stories of all these people and just life in general, growing up there. 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.”

Noe indeed explores everywhere between the poles of the mountain and the river: from character studies on “Mountain Saint,” to honoring the Indigeous people of the region on “Burning Down The Prairie,” to the many veterans of his town on “POW Blues,” to the landscape and natural disasters beautifully depicted in “Appalachian Haze” and Road May Flood/It’s A Heartache,” which interpolates Bonnie Tyler’s classic 80’s love song.

To that end, musically, Noe looked to a wide array of influences for this record, from Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and John Prine to M.I.A. and Courtney  Barnett . Noe cites Alabama Shakes’ self-titled debut and Margo Price’s records as sounds that led him to work with producer Andrija Tokic in Nashville. “The fact that I got to work with him is surreal to me after all these years later…romanticizing the sound he’s getting here and the name of the place — The Bomb Shelter,” he exudes. Noe also expanded his sound with the help of band members including "Little" Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs) on bass and Derry deBorja (Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit) on keys.

Despite being written in quarantine and in the wake of natural disasters, River Fools and Mountain Saints remains a positive record. Noe maintains it’s about good moments growing up in a hard place. But most importantly, it’s about music as redemption, romanticism, and release.

River Fools & Mountain Saints Track List

01. Pine Grove (Madhouse)

02. River Fool

03. Lonesome As It Gets

04. Strip Job Blues 1984

05. Tom Barrett

06. Ballad of a Retired Man

07. Mountain Saint

08. One More Night

09. POW Blues

10. Burning Down the Prairie

11. Appalachia Haze

12. Road May Flood

U.S. Tour Dates:

3/24 - Indianapolis, IN - The HI-FI

3/25 - Lexington, KY - The Burl

3/31 - Nashville, TN - The Basement East

4/1 - Athens, GA - The Lewis Room at Tweed Recording

4/8 - Birmingham, AL - Saturn

4/9 - Asheville, NC - The Grey Eagle

4/22 - Denver, CO - Globe Hall

4/23 - Salt Lake City, UT - The State Room

4/30 - Indio, CA - Stagecoach Music Festival