Singer-songwriter John Salvage always poured a lot of heart into his ballads.
And we do mean ballads, because even before the Detroit-based musician rallied a full band around him in New Twenty Saints — at a time when he was writing and performing comparably more minimal songs as a solo artist — they still had a feeling of grandeur and urgency at any tempo.
It’s not surprising, then, that putting a revved up rock band behind that innate passion was only going to surge the overall adrenaline of his aesthetic. With their second full-length album dropping next month, New Twenty Saints unveiled the music video for their new single, the power-pop and Americana-leaning “Blood Caught a Lie.”
The new self-titled album is releasing June 2 via Detroit’s Outer Limits Lounge Records. It’s self-titled as a tacit celebration of the unifying power of being in a band, but it also emphasizes the shift from the band being previously known as John Salvage and New Twenty Saints to simply New Twenty Saints.
New Twenty Saints sounds like a band that’s fully hit its stride. A band that wants just about every song to bring the house down.
Lead singer and guitarist Salvage relocated to Detroit from Toledo over a decade ago, looking to get a foothold in the local music scene. Salvage felt like he was finally onto something just as everything shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Undeterred, the musician stayed busy writing songs and released his debut album Coyote Hasten in 2021. The record is an impressive batch of heavy-hearted, catharsis-seeking Americana-folk ballads.
Later that same year, Salvage assembled what would eventually become New Twenty Saints, featuring guitarist Josh Budiongan, drummer Evan Eklund and bassist Kirk Scarbrough. The group released their first album Nikita in 2022. New Twenty Saints are bringing fans their follow-up album just one year later.
Side one of New Twenty Saints is all about the high energy bangers, the charged-up ballads, the full-throated choruses and slick hooks and driving rhythms. Side two dials back the intensity and focuses on their proclivities for that Americana/folk-rock sound, creating resonant space for the rich tones of pianos, harmonicas, acoustic guitars — and in the track “Hamtramck” — a mandolin.
Salvage has always wanted to be in a band, and now that he’s got an ensemble of versatile players to work with, they’re not wasting the opportunity to make something that feels appropriately epic. New Twenty Saints would make for an ideal soundtrack for any summer road trips.
New Twenty Saints perform live at the Phog Lounge in Windsor this Saturday with Slizz and Occupant. The band will host an album release party June 10 at the Outer Limits Lounge in Detroit with Wild Shape.