On their much-anticipated sophomore album, Sea of Noise, Birmingham, Alabama’s soul barn-burners St. Paul & the Broken Bones did away with the love-gone-wrong lyrics and instead—guided by frontman Paul Janeway—jumped into the deep end of topical songwriting. Racism, sexism, and the questioning of faith all feature prominently in the new material.
It’s most apparent on “Is It Me” where Janeway questions his place as someone who loves the South, but is conflicted by the region’s history. “Is it hell, is it home, or is it me?” he croons over a mellow guitar and restrained horns. The song is the band’s benediction, one where Janeway finds some peace from thinking about the complexities of Southern identity.
“It is a perfect song to end the album,” Janeway says. “Every time I hear “Is It Me,” it puts me in an exact time and place.”
Sea of Noise is out on September 9 (available for pre-order now), and the band’s U.S. tour begins the same day in Nashville. Until then, Garden & Gun is thrilled to host the worldwide premiere of “Is It Me.”