The Mountain Goats have shared the latest song off their forthcoming album Jenny From Thebes. “Fresh Tattoo” features Bully’s Alicia Bognanno, plus Matt Douglas and Evan Ringel on horns, with additional vocals from Matt Nathanson. Hear it, and check out the band’s just-announced winter tour dates, below.
Jenny From Thebes is the sequel to the Mountain Goats’ 2002 album All Hail West Texas. Darnielle discussed the creation and significance of “Fresh Tattoo” in the statement below.
I wrote “Fresh Tattoo” over the course of several sessions at the piano in March of 2022. I felt an affinity for the story in it and for how it developed, and I was proud of the song. In December that year, I sent it to my old friend Matt Nathanson, who hosted the open mic night where the Mountain Goats got their start back in the early nineties. Come sing on my song, man, I said, I wouldn’t even be here without you. I’ll be there, he said.
Sometimes when I go into the studio, I fret that we won’t be able to translate my alone-with-an-instrument vision to the big room. But what my band, and Trina Shoemaker, and Alicia Bognanno, and good old Matt Nathanson did with it exceeded even my highest expectations. When [drummer] Jon [Wurster] breaks into straight 4/4 at the song’s climax it feels like a high-performance car emerging from a turn into a straightaway at 120mph at dawn somewhere on the plains.
“Fresh Tattoo” is the flashpoint in the story of who Jenny is and how she came to leave Texas. In it, she gets a tattoo of a shield on her arm, and, on her way home, sees a guy who needs help. This will be her last lodger, and it’s her first tattoo, and the day will prove to be decisive in her story. Listening to Matt put down the harmonies on it in Tulsa earlier this year was one of the best moments I’ve ever had in my musical life; it meant so much to make something new with him, I wouldn’t even be here without him. I’m very happy to share it with the world today.
The Mountain Goats:
10-02 Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern
10-03 Los Angeles, CA – The Belasco
10-05 San Francisco, CA – August Hall
10-06 San Francisco, CA – August Hall
10-07 Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
10-09 Spokane, WA – Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox
10-10 Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
10-11 Bozeman, MT – The Elm
10-13 Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre
10-14 Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre
10-27 Lubbock, TX – Cactus Theater
10-28 Dallas, TX – Longhorn Ballroom
10-29 Houston, TX – Heights Theater
12-01 Greensboro, NC – Hangar 1819
12-02 Wilmington, DE – The Queen
12-03 Portland, ME – Aura
12-05 Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
12-06 Hartford, CT – Infinity Hall
12-07 Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
12-08 Homer, NY – Center for the Arts of Homer
12-10 Pittsburgh, PA – Thunderbird Music Hall
12-12 Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
12-13 Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall
12-14 St. Petersburg, FL – The Floridian
12-15 Jacksonville, FL – Intuition Ale Works
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