Ian Noe – River Fools & Mountain Saints

Ian Noe - River Fools & Mountain Saints



4.3/5 Pros

  • Great storytelling and musical atmosphere
  • Beautifully defined characters Cons

  • A bit too dark

Ian Noe has already been touring with major country music acts like Jon Prine. On 25th March 2022, he is releasing his second album River Fools & Mountain Saints. I had a listen.


Ian Noe – About The Artist

Ian Noe is a country/folk singer-songwriter from the United States. He was born on 9th May 1990 in Beattyville, Kentucky. In 2019, he released his debut album Between the Country, which peaked in the Top 10 of the US Heat charts.


Ian Noe – River Fools & Mountain Saints – Track by Track

The twelve song album lasts 42 minutes.

1. Pine Grove (Madhouse)

The album is opening with a nice countryfolk blend. The song is having a nice guitar and keyboard melody line, which creates a beautiful groove. Good listen, for sure.

2. River Fool

The second song has a very classic sound and vibe. Ian Noe presents instruments like the fiddle in River Fool. A bit of old-fashioned, but doesn’t that reflect the Kentucky small town life Ian Noe is reflecting about?

3. Lonesome As It Gets

The third song is very autobiographic. Noe is reflecting about him living alone in his grandparents’ old house. A really nice way to turn his reflections into a musical story.

4. Strip Job Blues 1984

Small town life, the Kentucky Mountains – these stories just don’t need a fast drummer, electronic guitars and smashing riffs. And so does Ian Noe. The Strip Job Blues 1984 just works with three elements: an acoustic guitar, a fiddle and the story. Just as home-made as it gets. Just as home-made the protagonist of the song would do it on his own.

5. Tom Barrett

Coming with a slightly more powerful sound, Tom Barrett is honoring a veteran of the town which is in focus of River Fools & Mountain Saints. Not excessively arrange, but again just what it needs to be impressive. One of the key strengths of this album.

6. Ballad Of A Retired Man

Thematically, the Ballad Of A Retired Man feels to link perfectly to the song before. However, the song is one of the most touching and intense listens of the album to me. I highly recommend to give these almost five minutes of excellent storytelling and songwriting a try.

7. Mountain Saint

After the second track, Mountain Saint feels to be something like the antagonist of songs on River Fools & Mountain Saints. Ian Noe again describes the life and thoughts of a character. This time, a female inhabitant of the Kentucky mountain town is in focus of his narration. Enjoy the listen.

8. One More Night

This 3:28 minute song surprises by using a French horn as part of the instrumentation. This leads to a very special, deep listening experience. The bridge is just magnificent.

9. POW Blues

The ninth track indeed comes as a blues (and a bit of rock) style track. After the very deep tracks, this also leads to some sort of relaxing and easing the listen of the deep stories. However, the POW Blues does again characterize one of the members of the town’s community. Thus, it is worth to have a precise listen.

10. Burning Down The Prairie

Burning Down The Prairie was one of the songs already released before the album. The song keeps a bit of the blues vibe of its predecessor, but takes the perspective of the Native American part of the town’s people. Great working with the electric guitar in the second half of the song.

11. Appalachia Haze

Even the song is a slow one, there is some sort of positive vibe in the melody as well as in the lyrics. Great arrangement again.

12. Road May Flood / It’s A Heartache

Indeed, the closing song is very special. Not only as it is quoting the good, old Bonnie Tyler song. The optimistic outlook of the song before feels to be faded, but still, Road May Flood / It’s A Heartache makes me smile.


Ian Noe – River Fools & Mountain Saints – Spotify

Here is Ian Noe’s 2022 album on Spotify:


Ian Noe – River Fools & Mountain Saints – My View

I love deep stories and metaphoric descriptions put into into melodies. That’s where Ian Noe and his 2022 album is just excellent. I would maybe also like to learn more about the less depressing aspects of living in this town – but I enjoy and appreciate the tales of this album. Very intense and demanding listen, but definitely a Top Pick! in my point of view. Country Music Top Picks! Reviews in 2022

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