As a teacher of English, I have often assigned The Pearl and Of Mice and Men to my classes. And you can always tell when the students get to THE part in each:
Shocked and saddened, the kids always wonder where the Hollywood ending is. I usually show them a picture of John Steinbeck—in a black turtleneck—looking as if someone had just shot his old dog….
But I digress. Truth is, I’m not at all sure about Steinbeck’s happiness, but I do know that he wasn’t known for writing toe-tappers. You read Steinbeck, you get gritty, real, and often brutal.
And that’s just how I’d describe Lost Dog Street Band (LSSB) and Ian Noe. (See what I did there?)
To begin with: DISCLAIMER. It’s not early 90’s rap, but the language and themes of some of the music discussed herein is not child friendly. LDSB and Ian Noe say things how they feel and see them. It’s not a filtered version of the grim reality they sing about.
Still, if you want to hear raw and real, listen up:
Lost Dog Street Band—Husband and wife team Benjamin Tod and Ashley Mae make up LDSB, which primarily consists of Tod on lead vocals and guitar with Mae’s crisp high harmonies and haunting fiddle.
LDSB is not new. In fact, they’ve been making albums for years. Their new release, Weight of a Trigger, will pull you into a sound that is both gripping and beautiful. Listen to “War Inside if Me” and you’ll get an idea of LDSB, and you’ll want more.
I love the harmonies, the arrangements, and the production. Benjamin Tod’s lyrics, are reminiscent of Townes Van Zandt, and his voice will have you wondering if he’s channeling Hank Sr.
LDSB is real American country music. It’s what so many folks claim isn’t made anymore. It is, and it’s right there for the listening.
Ian Noe—Following in the footsteps of my guy Tyler Childers (reference the original “Two to Listen To, Too”), Beatyville, Kentucky’s Ian Noe writes about small-town Appalachia, the good, the bad, and the downright horrific.
The NSFW “Meth Head” cuts to the sad, scary, and harsh reality of addiction. The descriptions are graphic and unapologetically genuine. (Again, listen at your own discretion.)
Noe isn’t, however, a one-song wonder. In fact, the entire album, Between the Country, which just dropped Friday (5/31), is filled with instant folk/country classics.
There’s some Dylan sound in there with songs like “Irene (Ravin’ Bomb)” and “Barbara’s Song.” Some of the auditory aesthetic even reminds me a bit of Gordon Lightfoot’s Edmund Fitzgerald. There’s even some old country crooner sound in songs like “Loving You.”
Between the Country is a a great debut and one you may find gets stuck on repeat in your playlist.
If you’re tired of today’s mainstream country, you owe it to yourself to give give Lost Dog Street Band and Ian Noe a listen. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks for reading.