Ian Noe's 2019 debut album Between The Country remains one of the strongest alt-country debuts I've heard in recent memory, so it's very exciting to learn that Ian has just announced his sophomore album, River Fools & Mountain Saints, due March 25 via Thirty Tigers (pre-order). Ian says that the album title came to him before any of the songs did, and it inspired the concept of the album. "That landscape and that geography of growing up in Lee County, Kentucky," he says. "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."

Having done his first album with producer Dave Cobb, he made this one with Andrija Tokic, who he chose to work with after hearing Andrija's work with Alabama Shakes and Margo Price. "The fact that I got to work with him is surreal to me after all these years later," Ian said, "romanticizing the sound he’s getting here and the name of the place — The Bomb Shelter." His backing band for the album includes The Raconteurs bassist Jack Lawrence and Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit keyboardist Derry deBorja.

The first single is "Pine Grove (Madhouse)," which feels a little bright and more upbeat than Ian's often-melancholic debut, but it still has that trademark flair that made Between The Country so distinct. "There’s no denying this album was made during a pandemic, so figured I’d open it up with the word ‘stranded,’" Ian says. "This song is about being stuck, being isolated, but making the most of it. It’s also an ode to the all the party houses I’ve frequented and making music." Listen and watch the John Mason-directed video below.

Tracklist
1 Pine Grove (Madhouse)
2 River Fool
3 Lonesome as It Gets
4 Strip Job Blues 1984
5 Tom Barrett
6 Ballad of a Retired Man
7 Mountain Saint
8 One More Night
9 POW Blues
10 Burning Down the Prairie
11 Appalachia Haze
12 Road May Flood / It's a Heartache