Birmingham, AL-based Americana/folk singer-songwriter Joel Madison Blount is set to release his new album, Our New Moon, on September 29, 2017. Merging the influence of Southern literary authors with a musical response to the rhythm and melody of life, Blount writes songs about the human experience, meant to offer hope and inspire the listener. The songs appearing on Our New Moon were written in response to the birth of Blount’s first child and represent a new beginning for his growing family, and a new phase of life for Blount and his artistic career.
“A new moon marks the start of the first phase of Earth’s moon during the course of the lunar cycle,” says Blount, “and it also alludes to the mystery surrounding what we will encounter on our journey ahead, as neither are visible from our perspective.” Themes on the album wind their way through a time of sorrow and brokenness, but ultimately lead the listener to witness redemption and an outpouring of grace. “This is a record in favor of the quiet life,” Blount says about his forthcoming album, “best savored while winding down in the peace and calm of the evening.”
Standout tracks on the album include “Beauty that Remains” (which calls upon the listener to reflect upon the beauty of life in spite of personal shortcomings and failures), “Arms Open Wide” (written as a letter to his son after learning he would become a father), and “Inner Monologue” (written as a response to fear and anxiety – with the refrain “just let it go” sung as a reminder for us to let go of the things we can’t control).
Changing the way he usually approached the guitar, through the use of unfamiliar tunings, Blount challenged his songwriting sensibilities, breaking what had become rote in search of new perspectives. Limiting reliance on routine chord progressions allowed him to simplify song structures, discover new melodies, and focus on crafting more pointed lyrical content. He also invited others to collaborate with him in the studio, including producer Brian T. Murphy (The Lone Bellow, Sandra McCracken, Greg Holden, Drew & Ellie Holcomb), guitarist Josh Vigneulle, bassist Will Weir, and drummer Alex Hinson. Production in the studio was intentionally limited to a four-piece band in order to ensure the songs were presented in a simple, yet elegant manner. The album was mixed by Chris Steffen (Damien Rice, Beck, John Mayer, Joshua Radin) and mastered by Harris Newman.
Our New Moon follows on the heels of his first full-length album, Taming the Wind, which released in early 2014, and two EPs (Joel Madison Blount in 2010 and I Believe in Love in 2011); Blount has pursued music professionally as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer since 2010. In a previous life, Blount worked as a CPA in public accounting before refocusing his endeavors solely toward artistic pursuits. In addition to his work as a solo artist, Blount runs a music production studio called The War Room out of a nearly century-old commercial building near his home, he is the band coordinator for a local church, and he is a member of the band War Jacket and A Slim Shadow. Fun fact: he’s a distant relative of the author Roy Blount Jr., another relative is ’70s rocker Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show.
Blount is planning some tour dates in support of Our New Moon. Tour dates will be announced soon.