When most people think of country music they tend to immediately think of either Tennessee or Texas. And while the majority of country singers still call those places home, there has been a strong contingent coming out of the great state of Kentucky. Whether it’s Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, or Tyler Childers, there has been a greater emphasis on storytelling with this batch of Kentucky singer-songwriters that you just aren’t seeing in Nashville country. The latest to join this strong contingent of Kentuckians is Beattyville native Ian Noe with the release of his debut album Between the Country
The album, produced by man of the hour Dave Cobb, shines a light on life in Kentucky and does so without trying to hide any of the issues in rural America. There are more than a few songs on the album that deal with drugs and despair. However, for this post I have chosen “Barbara’s Song” which tells the story of a train crash back in 1904. In the story a train is blown off a bridge by hard rain into the Colorado river. The narrator lays out the scene in a tragic play by play including a plea to God that he loves his wife. Noe has a raspy nasal voice that has been regularly compared to the likes of Bob Dylan. The song is a toe tapper with great pop appeal.
“Well, oh my
I’m a train in the sky
Sweet Lord, let me feel no fear
And before I go down
Please tell Barbara Brown
Well, I love you, my darling, my dear”
Ian Noe is currently out on the road in support of the Between the Country. You should go check out his website to find out when he is playing near you. If his trajectory is anything like the aforementioned other Kentucky natives, you’ll want to get out to see him now before he is playing to much larger crowds. This is a strong contender for album of the year anchored by the great “Barbara’s Song.” Check it out down below and let me know what you think in the comments!