Texas’s Modern Renaissance Man Scott Ballew Announces New Album With Cinema-Inspired “Suicide Squeeze”

Article Contributed by IVPR | Published on Saturday, February 10, 2024

“Writing has become a survival mechanism,” waxes songwriter, musician, filmmaker and Texan Scott Ballew. “This came to me later in life. I have four decades of experiences, anxieties, and thoughts that I am purging and have found that idle time is not healthy for me.”

Ballew’s perspective is refreshing, a consequence of experience and exposure to people who excel in their fields—Ballew recounts his time working with the legendary Terry Allen as life- and art-altering—not to mention his own seasons as a (third generation) Texas football star turned film director turned junkie turned musician. Ballew’s writing is a world of contrasts; poignant but humorous, relatable but cerebral, simple but cinematic. “If you can make someone laugh and cry in the same paragraph, there’s no closer reflection to real life,” he says. Sonically, his music—specifically his upcoming LP, Rio Bravo—is as if Townes Van Zandt was produced by Ennio Morricone.

Today, Ballew shared “Suicide Squeeze,” the first single to be heard from Rio Bravo ahead of its March 29th release on La Honda Records. “I wrote this on a napkin inside Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater watching ‘Licorice Pizza’ by Paul Thomas Anderson,” Ballew recalls. “Inspired by perfect running montages, I resonated with the kid who had ambitions to take a huge bite out of life.” The screening conjured up feelings from Ballew’s childhood like grandiose schemes or desires for widespread acclaim, or in his words, “the feeling that an older woman, or sports accolades, or some degree of celebrity was necessary to achieve success.”

A brief 60-cycle hum from an amplifier sets the scene for “Suicide Squeeze’s” dusty, analog sound, easing into the waltzing verses that give way to its triumphant choruses. “We recorded this one live as a full band in my living room to ¼ inch tape,” Ballew Remembers. “We only did two takes of the song and kept the 2nd one in its entirety.”

“Suicide Squeeze” can be streamed today at this link, and Rio Bravo is available to pre-order or pre-save ahead of its March release right here.

On Febrary 13th, Ballew will premiere the “Suicide Squeeze” music video. Directed by Rachel McDonald and shot in one day around Ojai, Santa Paula, and Hollywood in Southern California, the short was largely influenced by the same running montages from “Licorice Pizza.” “I paid someone $10 to put my name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and convinced a movie theater to let us film in it for 30 minutes before I screened one of my documentaries to the Academy voting members,” says Ballew of the process.

Rio Bravo Tracklist:

True Love Can’t Surf

Trouble Darling

Suicide Squeeze

Can You Hear Me Smile

Rio Bravo

Impossible Smile


Old Fashioned

All That Is Sacred

A Funny Masterpiece