Vincent Neil Emerson’s brand new album The Golden Crystal Kingdom is finally here, and it was well worth the wait.
The Texas troubadour’s third album follows his 2019 honky-tonking debut Fried Chicken & Evil Women, as well as his songwriting masterpiece of a sophomore project in 2021, his self-titled Vincent Neil Emerson. Now, with 12 total tracks, Emerson has not only further proved that he is one of the genre’s greatest songwriters, but he has shown he can push the envelope sonically while still maintaining his sound and putting the storytelling and lyricism first.
With songs that range from stripped-back intimate ballads, to steel-soaked honky tonk heaters, and soulful blues tunes to full blown rock and roll, The Golden Crystal Kingdom features an amalgamation of juxtaposing sounds that are all tied together cohesively through Emerson’s semi-autobiographical storytelling and descriptive, picture-painting lyricism. There is something for everyone on this record, and with content based on Emerson’s own life and the experiences of those around him, even the two covers seem like they were written specifically for this record.
Hailing from Van Zandt County in East Texas, aptly named after the descendants of Texas songwriting great Townes Van Zandt, for whom Emerson, among many others, is carrying on the state’s songwriting torch, Emerson penned 10 songs on the album, and selected two perfect covers to record as well. The first of which, “Time of the Cottonwood Trees” was originally written and recorded by fellow Texas artist and friend Charley Crockett for his album The Man From Waco last year, and is likely already recognizable to many of Emerson’s fans..
The second cover is perhaps a lesser known one in “Co’dine,” a hard-hitting account of opioid addiction originally written by folk artist Buffy Saint-Marie in 1964, shortly after she had become addicted to codeine herself while healing from an infection. This is a great cover for many reasons, but aside from being an incredible writer, Saint-Marie is also well known as a social activist focusing on native Americans and Canadians. Emerson, A proud native of Choctaw-Apache heritage, has several songs in his catalog, and on this album that draw on his roots, making the cover that much more authentic.
With the other ten originals making up the remainder of the record, Emerson puts on a showcase with The Golden Crystal Kingdom that will keep you on your toes sonically and have you hanging on to every word he sings. Drawing heavily on the influence of the country-rock greats of the 1960s, Emerson provided some extra insight into his latest album:
“I’ve always found the combination of country and rock interesting, looking at people like Gram Parsons, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young. There’s a few country-inspired songs on this one, a few stripped-down acoustic songs, and a few songs inspired by that ’60s folk rock movement.
This album is set apart from my other two by the louder sounds we captured in the studio. It’s not a Honky Tonk album, and it’s not a folk album. It’s not just one genre. It’s just a mixture of some of the things I like about music.”
Emerson picked the perfect producer for the California country-rock sound, too, with Shooter Jennings, who has produced albums for some of the genre’s greatest like Turnpike Troubadours, Tanya Tucker, Jason Boland, American Aquarium, and many more taking the reins.
“I was listening to a lot of rock & roll music from the 60s and 70s when I came up with these songs. I’m proud and lucky to say that Shooter Jennings produced this album, not just because he’s a great producer that really understood the songs, but because he’s one of the most genuine people I know. I’m also proud to call him a friend.”
So, without further ado, dive into Vincent Neil Emerson’s sure-to-be-seminal brand new record The Golden Crystal Kingdom, and see what the hype is all about for yourself. Here’s a few favorites:
“The Golden Crystal Kingdom”
“Hang Your Head Down Low”
“The Man from Uvalde”
The Golden Crystal Kingdom Tracklist:
Time of the Rambler
The Golden Crystal Kingdom
Time of the Cottonwood Trees
I’ll Meet You in Montana
Hang Your Head Down Low
On the Banks of the Old Guadalupe
The Man From Uvalde
Voices (On the Spanish Isle)
Clover on the Hillside
Little Wolf’s Invincible Yellow Medicine Paint
VNE is out on tour right now, too, so make sure to catch him and his all star band if they ramble on through your town to close out the year.
You’re not going to miss out on hearing these new songs live, and besides, Emerson is well on his way to achieving a legendary status in the Americana music scene, and you’ll be able to say you were on it in the relatively early days.
Vincent Neil Emerson Tour Dates
NOV 10, 2023 – Elkton Music Hall – Elkton, MD
NOV 11, 2023 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
NOV 15, 2023 – World Cafe Live – Philadelphia, PA
NOV 16, 2023 – The Southern Café and Music Hall – Charlottesville, VA
NOV 17, 2023 – Motorco Music Hall – Durham, NC
NOV 18, 2023 – New Brookland Tavern – Columbia, SC
NOV 19, 2023 – Charleston Music Hall – Charleston, SC
NOV 21, 2023 – Eddie’s Attic – Decatur, GA
DEC 9, 2023 – Antone’s Nightclub – Austin, TX