Scott Ballew releases a new music video today for his La Honda Records debut single, Suicide Squeeze. See the press release for the new album below:
For Immediate Release—
Texas’s Modern Renaissance Man Scott Ballew Announces New Album With Cinema-Inspired “Suicide Squeeze”
Rio Bravo due out March 29th on La Honda Records; “Suicide Squeeze” video premieres Tuesday, February 13th
February 9, 2024 - Austin, TX - “Writing has become a survival mechanism,” waxes songwriter, musician, filmmaker and Texan Scott Ballew. “This came to me later in life. I have four decades of experiences, anxieties, and thoughts that I am purging and have found that idle time is not healthy for me.”
Ballew’s perspective is refreshing, a consequence of experience and exposure to people who excel in their fields—Ballew recounts his time working with the legendary Terry Allen as life- and art-altering—not to mention his own seasons as a (third generation) Texas football star turned film director turned junkie turned musician. Ballew’s writing is a world of contrasts; poignant but humorous, relatable but cerebral, simple but cinematic. “If you can make someone laugh and cry in the same paragraph, there’s no closer reflection to real life,” he says. Sonically, hismusic—specifically his upcoming LP, Rio Bravo—is as if Townes Van Zandt was produced by Ennio Morricone.
Today, Ballew shared “Suicide Squeeze,” the first single to be heard from Rio Bravo ahead of its March 29th release on La Honda Records. “I wrote this on a napkin inside Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater watching ‘Licorice Pizza’ by Paul Thomas Anderson,” Ballew recalls. “Inspired by perfect running montages, I resonated with the kid who had ambitions to take a huge bite out of life.” The screening conjured up feelings from Ballew’s childhood like grandiose schemes or desires for widespread acclaim, or in his words, “the feeling that an older woman, or sports accolades, or some degree of celebrity was necessary to achieve success.”
A brief 60-cycle hum from an amplifier sets the scene for “Suicide Squeeze’s” dusty, analog sound, easing into the waltzing verses that give way to its triumphant choruses. “We recorded this one live as a full band in my living room to ¼ inch tape,” Ballew Remembers. “We only did two takes of the song and kept the 2nd one in its entirety.”
“Suicide Squeeze” can be streamed or purchased today at this link, Rio Bravo is available to pre-order or pre-save ahead of its March release right here, and vinyl can be purchased here.
On Febrary 13th, Ballew will premiere the “Suicide Squeeze” music video. Directed by Rachel McDonald and shot in one day around Ojai, Santa Paula, and Hollywood in Southern California, the short was largely influenced by the same running montages from “Licorice Pizza.” “I paid someone $10 to put my name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and convinced a movie theater to let us film in it for 30 minutes before I screened one of my documentaries to the Academy voting members,” says Ballew of the process.
Rio Bravo Tracklist:
True Love Can’t Surf
Can You Hear Me Smile
All That Is Sacred
A Funny Masterpiece
More About Scott Ballew: “People, they don’t change,” sings Austin-born Scott Ballew on the first line of the first song of his junior album, Rio Bravo—an unexpected remark from a man whose life has been punctuated by personal evolution. A reductive synopsis would be as follows: Texas football star turned film director turned junkie turned musician.
His resume is staggering, from his work as Yeti’s Head of Content, directing shorts featuring Ryan Bingham, J.B. Mauney, and Margo Price, to more recent independent ventures, including a documentary on Terry Allen and a film, All That is Sacred, chronicling the hazy creative stratosphere of Key West in the 70s. The latter is a glimpse of the lives of American literary giants Thomas McGuane and Jim Harrison and superstar Jimmy Buffett. A true artistic visionary, Ballew’s latest endeavor is a near-obsessive pursuit of quality songwriting. The medium has changed but his razor-sharp ability to tell a great story hasn’t. Sonically, his music–specifically Rio Bravo–is if Townes Van Zandt was produced by Ennio Morricone. Ballew’s writing is a world of contrasts–poignant but humorous, relatable but cerebral, simple but cinematic. “If you can make someone laugh and cry in the same paragraph, there’s no closer reflection to real life.”
After an introduction to Terry Allen by mutual friend Ryan Bingham, Ballew’s approach to art (and life) was drastically altered. “[What Terry taught me is that] the audience is irrelevant. What’s important is that you wake up and you show up and you follow whatever it is that’s in your head or your heart.” The ‘showing up’ can be heard on Rio Bravo, a 9 song collection releasing March 29, 2024, via independent powerhouse, La Honda Records.