H.C. McEntire spurs slight shift in Southern rock paradigm with announcement of debut solo album LIONHEART

H.C. McEntire spurs slight shift in Southern rock paradigm with announcement of debut solo album LIONHEART
Photo: Heather Evans Smith

You could scour a thousand different thesauruses in a thousand different languages and probably not find a better word than “lionheart” to describe Mount Moriah front woman H.C. McEntire. “Fearless” might be a decent alternative, but even that would be too meager, too artificial.

As such, it’s fitting that LIONHEART will be used to title the North Carolina native’s debut solo album, which is due out January 26 on Merge Records. At its core, the album is a solemn reflection on McEntire’s experiences as a queer woman growing up in the American South — a region not particularly known for its progressive ideologies on sexual orientation, or for its willing embrace “non-traditional” modes of artistic self-expression.

Mostly an accumulation of demos that McEntire wrote while touring as a member of Angel Olsen’s band, the record consists of songs that, as she puts it, “weren’t right” for Mount Moriah. “In music, there are no rules,” McEntire says of the LIONHEART writing process:

You make your own language. You can be both the Southern rock outlier and the twangy gospel conduit. You can be both the cherubic, honey-tongued innocent and the ardent punk. To get here — to find my lion heart — I had to become them all.

Additionally, the ex-Bellafea rocker has also announced the release of the album’s first single, “A Lamb, A Dove,” a somber, powerful track that reflects as much on McEntire’s own sexuality as it does on her traditional Southern Baptist upbringing. Check out the lyric video of the song below and pre-order Lionheart from Merge if you have any intention of securing a limited edition white vinyl pressing of the sure-to-be-remarkable album.

LIONHEART tracklisting:

01. A Lamb, A Dove
02. Baby’s Got the Blues
03. Yellow Roses
04. Wild Dogs
05. Quartz in the Valley
06. When You Come for Me
07. Red Silo
08. One Great Thunder
09. Dress in the Dark

H.C. McEntire tour dates:

01.26.18 - Nashville, TN - City Winery*
01.28.18 - Annapolis, MD - Ram’s Head Onstage*
01.29.18 - New York, NY - City Winery*
01.30.18 - New York, NY - City Winery*
02.02.18 - Chicago, IL - City Winery*
02.03.18 - Chicago, IL - City Winery*

* Justin Townes Earle

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