As the Kentucky singer-songwriter gets ready to release his full-length debut album, Between the Country, Friday, May 31st, Rolling Stone shares why you should know Ian Noe.
"Noe knows this land and its hardworking inhabitants as well as anyone who’s ever claimed the Bluegrass State as home. He possesses a deep understanding of people’s unyielding vices, underlying motives and destructive weaknesses, and rarely dons rose-colored glasses when morphing into the characters that make up Between the Country." – Rolling Stone
For a lot of this album, you tap into the underbelly of America — the ugly and unpleasant side of life. The characters of these songs are dealing with harsh realities, yet they aren’t one-dimensional. It feels as though you’ve known these people in some fashion.
Yeah. So many of these are influenced by friends, friends of friends, people back home. Old acquaintances and people I grew up around. It’s really what this whole album is about. Some folks took one way and others went down another route.
One of the prominent images that you revisit is an impending winter and looking for shelter from that storm. It’s in “Junk Town,” “Letter to Madeline,” “If Today Doesn’t Do Me In” and the title track. Did you intentionally go back to that imagery? Absolutely. I catch myself doing it all the time and it actually doesn’t bother me. I do mention the winter a few times on the album. Like on the song “Junk Town” and that line “I hate to see the winter bring that dreadful cold,” so many people I knew back home, they’d go out searching for metal to take to the junkyard and get whatever they could out of it. You have that lonesome mentality of going out searching to feed whatever addiction you have. A winter in a small town can be harsh.
One of the highlights of your songwriting is your use of idioms to express feeling and action. In the song “Between the Country,” for instance: “It was a dog den where good men were rare.” Why is that an important aspect of your craft? That’s the language. It’s the language I grew up with. It’s the way family would talk and how they’d tell old stories. It always appealed to me.
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