Shane Smith & The Saints Feed The Flame With Highly Anticipated Record ‘Norther’

Shane Smith and the saints
David Wells

This could be the one.

Shane Smith & the Saints’ heavily anticipated record Norther, their first album in five years, may finally be the one that catapults the band into the country music ether, achieving the stardom and recognition they deserve.

In a time where many artists are releasing new music at a pace and volume that has spoiled the listener, and left many with unruly expectations for creative output, Shane Smith & the Saints have stayed in their lane. While prolific may not be the best adjective to describe this band, methodical and intentional is much more accurate, focusing on growing their fan base and brand by hitting the road with reckless abandon and letting their spectacular live show carry the burden of expectation, and waiting until near perfection has been achieved to release their music.

The result is powerful, as anticipation, and maybe even a bit of mystery has surrounded the prospect of new music for years, and now that the final product so many have been awaiting is at our fingertips, it is even sweeter than expected. A lot has transpired since these country rockers last released an album, though, and the trials and tribulations they have endured have manifested through Smith’s deft lyricism and gravelly delivery in Norther.

Having formed in Austin, TX in 2011, Shane Smith & the Saints garnered an impressive fan base organically, with a busy touring schedule, an electric live show, and the three extraordinary albums they released between 2013 and 2019. With a sound and aura that is almost as if Guy Clark had been backed by The Dropkick Murphy’s, the raucous yet poetic music of the Saints’ has been a staple in dancehalls and listening rooms across the country for nearly a decade now, and even plenty of bigger venues such as Whitewater Amphitheater and Red Rocks.

They caught a massive break in Yellowstone’s season 4 when Taylor Sheridan himself shouted them out by name and played their hit song “All I See is You” is on the show. In season 5, the band even made an appearance on the show, playing a few songs at an during an event at the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. Being featured on the show with such a massive audience has helped promote the music of countless artists, and the publicity facilitated another step in the right direction for the band, having a massive impact on their streaming and ticket sales, and perhaps even being the impetus for the undeniable sentiment in the country music world that something big has been on the horizon for Shane Smith & the Saints over the past couple of years.

It hasn’t been an easy road for the band to get to where they are now, though. As journalist Josh Crutchmer reported in a recent article for Rolling Stone, a series of unfortunate events in the lives of several band members, including lead singer Shane Smith’s, almost derailed the train before it truly began to take off. The hardships culminated in late 2019 when the band’s new tour bus burst into flames due to an engine fire, and after everyone miraculously cheated death, they were left broke, tired, and with a bleak outlook on the future of Shane Smith & the Saints.

By that point, in early 2020, Smith was seriously considering quitting music, at his wit’s end with the industry and the grinding lifestyle he was having to lead. Luckily, though, things began to turn around shortly thereafter, as the country was re-emerging from the pandemic, Shane Smith & the Saints found new management that helped them focus more on the music they were creating without getting as bogged down in the operations. They landed some bigger festival dates and a tour with Whiskey Myers shortly after their inclusion on Yellowstone, and it was off to the races again.

A short synopsis of their struggles since previous album Hail Mary was released in 2019, this does not nearly do justice to what they have gone through as a band, but it ultimately bring us to the Shane Smith & the Saints we have today, with the triumphant release of their Beau Bedford-produced record Norther. Recorded at Modern Electric Studio in Dallas, Norther takes the listener on an adventure, both sonically and lyrically, through powerfully allegorical stories of love, loss, and uncertainty.

When you listen to this album intently, considering all that has transpired since Hail Mary, the project takes on different meaning, utilizing descriptive imagery and countless references to the natural world to paint an image in the listener’s mind and illustrate the gravity of the words Smith is crooning. The frequent mentions and metaphorical references to fire, in nearly half of the songs on the tracklist, is painstakingly ironic yet completely fitting within the dynamic nature of the music setting everyone’s minds ablaze.

No matter how you interpret or receive the new music, though, one thing is for sure. This is an incredible album from Shane Smith & the Saints, and as an early frontrunner for album of the year that will be difficult to dethrone as we continue through 2024, Norther could be the album that we look back on as Shane Smith & the Saints’ long awaited and well deserved breakthrough.

Without further ado, give Norther a listen for yourself below.

“Book of Joe”

“Can you remember, brother?
The good old days, in a cotton haze
I can still see mother crying over Daddy’s Grave
She said, oh oh oh
And I can hear the old man say
Pick up the slack, it don’t go that way
You will learn in this life
It’s a rich man’s war and it’s a poor man’s fight”

“Fire in the Sky”

“The ground was covered in tears of Mothers
And sweat to ashes and fire in the sky
Father told me, ‘No Matter what you do
Get home, don’t you make your mama cry'”


“You’re an old soul and an angel’s intuition
And I know you’re on a mission down here
Yeah, because I see you like I used to on the highway
Just a fool a thousand miles from your tears”

“The Greys Between”

“‘Cause I’d search any forest
I’d cross any sea
Loved you with everything that I had
But it brought me here to my knees
Give me time, I swear I’ll give you what you need”

“Navajo Norther”

“Navajo Norther, where did you leave?
Can you still hear me? Were you a dream?
Just like water boils to steam
Were you the earthquake that set us free”

“Field of Heather”

“I saw hell in the second war
Belgium winter ’44
I tore a few pages from the book of life
And never told a soul
‘Cause they never will escape my mind
I’ve heard their cries a thousand times
Forgive me, Lord, I tried to do it on my own”


“Just like the wheels caught in their motion
Steady as young stone that rolls down the hill
And our foggy headlights they still shine
But not so bright
Free with our hands tied
Alone, but too caught up to feel
And you can’t blame the memories
‘Cause they brought you a long, long way”

“All the Way”

“When age like poison steals your prime
I’ll be there to hold the line
With every wrinkle, shade of grey
I’ll be with you all the way
‘Cause I’m still yours and your still mine
I’ll be there to hold the line
With every wrinkle, shade of grey
I’ll be with you all the way”


“Hummingbird, don’t fly so far away
I think the answers you seek
Are right underneath your wings
If you’d only slow down enough 
To breathe my girl, let go of the ways of this world
I got the love that you need
Yeah I’ve got the love that you need”

“1,000 Wild Horses”

“I saw lightning turn to flames
Colors I can’t explain
I saw 1,000 horses in the sky
Somewhere in your eyes”

“It’s Been a While”

“When you broke down, I knew that day
That you were on the way out
And you were the one that I needed to find
I gotta patch that levee, babe, and change your mind”

“Everything & More”

“So, don’t stare when you look back
‘Cause they’re always gaining fast
And the highway sings a song that never fades
And the leaves, they’ll fall another year
Time knocks you down like a mother’s tears
And I ain’t breaking, as long as I’m with you my dear”

“Fire in the Ocean”

As I’ve mentioned before, Shane Smith & the Saints are truly one of the best live bands in the business, with a high-energy, electric show that is unmatched by the vast majority of their peers. This is in large part due to the talented artists behind Smith who are each equally as important to the cohesive operation.

Alongside Smith is iconic co-founder and fiddle player Bennett Brown, drummer Zach Stover, Dustin Schaefer on guitar, and Chase Satterwhite keeping everyone in rhythm on the bass. Together, Shane Smith & the Saints are a force of nature, and Norther is proof.

If they’re coming to a city near you, that’s a show you just simply can’t miss.

Tour Dates

3/1 – Extra Innings Festival – Tempe, AZ

3/3 – Waterloo Records – Austin, TX

3/8 – Choctaw Grand Theater – Durant, OK

3/24 – The Caverns – Pelham, TN

3/26 – Grand Ole Opry- Nashville, TN

3/30 – Outlaws & Legends – Abilene, TX

4/5 – Hogs for the Cause – New Orleans, LA

4/6 – Schoepf’s BBQ – Belton, TX

4/7 – 57 South Music Festival – Eagle Pass, TX

4/12-4/14 – Cattle Country Festival – Gonzales, TX

4/13 – Syndicate Smokedown – Fort Worth, TX

4/26 – Stagecoach – Indio, CA

5/2-5/4 – Calf Fry – Stillwater, OK

5/7 – Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO

5/14 – DR Koncerthuset Studie 2 – Copenhagen, Denmark

5/16 – Cloud Nine – Utrecht, Netherlands

5/17 – Highways 2024 – London, United Kingdom

5/18 – Gorilla – Manchester, United Kingdom

5/19 – Oran Mor – Glasgow, Scotland

5/30-6/2 – Gulf Coast Jam – Panama City Beach, FL

6/19 – Country Jam – Mack, CO

6/20 – Gordy’s HWY 30 Music Festival – Filer, ID

7/9 – Big Sky Events Arena – Big Sky, MT

7/19 – Country Jam – Eau Claire, WI

7/19-7/21 – Faster Horses – Brooklyn, MI

8/10 – Bootheel Rodeo – Sikeston, MO

8/16-8/17 – Wheatstock Music Festival – Helix, OR

9/1 – Montana’s Biggest Weekend – Dillon, MT

9/19-9/22 – Bourbon & Beyond – Louisville, KY

10/18-10/20 – Goldensky 2024 – Sacremento, CA

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock