By Joshua Wallace
I first became aware of Ian Noe when I saw him open for Colter Wall in Jacksonville, FL back in 2017. I compared him to a young Bob Dylan then and was amazed at how his songwriting can draw you in. He crafts stories and writes about subjects with a hint of gritty realism that no one else is doing right now. That still holds true on his debut LP Between The Country. Seriously people, this record gives me the same feels that records like Sturgill Simpson’s Hightop Mountain, Colter Wall’s self titled LP and Tyler Childer’s Purgatory have in the past. Let’s take a deeper look at some of my favorite tracks on this album.
“Irene (Ravin’ Bomb)” grabs you from the opening chords. It’s a folksy number about the life a junkie and while it’s kind of sad in a way, the title character tries to keep a happy outlook on things. It’s an example of the kind of songwriting you can expect throughout the record. “Junk Town” is a bittersweet tune about a man and his wife making it with what they have in a “junk town”. They just seem to be passing time till they pass on to something better. It’s a story that is too common about people living in the same place and waiting for death to bring something different or something better. “Letter To Madeline” is a great outlaw folk tune about a bank robber who is recounting his tale while longing for his Madeline. It’s an amazing tune that let’s Ian’s storytelling shine. This is probably my favorite track on the album.
“That Kind Of Life” celebrates the odd balls. Whether it’s people ready to help at the drop of a dime or quiet people who get high and don’t have a care in the world, it celebrates people who live the kind of life that nobody lives anymore. Another favorite, “If Today Doesn’t Do Me In” has been a favorite of mine ever since I heard it live. It’s a good slice of life story song about several characters such as a hitchhiker or a gas station clerk who are facing pivotal moments in their lives. Finally, everyone who has heard Ian Noe has likely heard of “Meth Head”. It’s one of his more popular numbers that goes into darker folk territory about a meth addict. The song represents the realism that Ian brings to each of his songs and that hits very hard with anyone who listens to this track for the first or hundredth time.
Ian Noe is a once in a lifetime talent as a singer / songwriter. While many are out there claiming to be outlaws or such, Ian’s music is real and gritty and deeper than most any outlaw country you can find. His lyrics alone are enough to capture a room full of rowdy concert goers, but his sound is perfect for the 60’s psychedelic folk throwback that Dave Cobb has brought to Between The Country. Think of this record as a modern take on a mix of 60’s Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Neil Young. You will hear elements of all three at different points throughout this album. I can’t wait to hear what is next for Ian Noe. Between The Country is out everywhere on May 31st, 2019. You can catch him in Nashville at The Basement on June 1st and check out his website to see everywhere you can catch him live. I highly recommend it.
Favorite Tracks : Irene (Ravin’ Bomb), Junk Town, Letter To Madeline, That Kind Of Life, If Today Doesn’t Do Me In, Meth Head
Ian Noe – Between The Country (2019)
- Irene (Ravin’ Bomb)
- Barbara’s Song
- Junk Town
- Letter To Madeline
- Loving You
- That Kind Of Life
- Dead On The River (Rolling Down)
- If Today Doesn’t Do Me In
- Meth Head
- Between The Country