Indie rock outfit Beau Jennings & The Tigers present their new single ‘People in This Town’, out June 9 via Oklahoma-based record label Black Mesa Records. What starts as a scrappy ten seconds of scuffling and static emerges as a summer anthem from this Oklahoma band.
With their classic 80’s AM radio American rock n’ roll sound filtered through their collective influences (gospel, country, folk, and indie rock), the single follows 2022’s full-length album ‘Heavy Light’, which drew critical parallels to Tom Petty, The Wallflowers and Bruce Springsteen, and subsequent singles ‘I’ve Got Your Heart Right Here’ and ‘Midnight Service’.
Jennings’ recording has just reached the two decade mark, in that time having collaborated with the likes of Sufjan Stevens, Richard Swift and filmmaker Bradley Beesley (Fearless Freaks, Okie Noodling) and shared the stage with Dwight Yoakam, Robert Cray, Heartless Bastards, Ray Wylie Hubbard and John Moreland.
In this new single, Jennings imagines the patrons of a bar on the outskirts—inspired by a real blink-and-you’ll-miss-it building in his hometown of Norman, Oklahoma. Having barely noticed it for much of his life, a recent drive nearby prompted Jennings to conjure the figures who might be congregating there.
“’People In This Town’ is really just about the overlooked or hidden aspects of a small town that are often taken for granted. Norman, OK is governed by religion, sports, and partying and while that maybe isn’t that different from other places, those are still powerful forces that shape people’s lives,” says Beau Jennings.
“I love driving past this spot just north of town called The Barracuda and just extrapolating from there how it encapsulates all those things at once. It’s not a hip or trendy spot, but people not only go there for all the normal bar reasons but they also go there to celebrate, to mourn, and just live life, whether that’s a positive or negative thing.”
‘People in This Town’ touches down at the intersection of a trinity of Oklahoman values, for better or worse: sports, religion, and misunderstanding your neighbor. The gentle admonition of the chorus – “People in this town don’t know what they got” – touches a nerve, highlighting the chasm between parallels: what we know, we don’t know and what we don’t know, we don’t know.
It turns out that the bar in question is actually a much-beloved venue that regularly hosts holiday celebrations, bachelorette parties, musical projects and more. It’s a micro-community that most people moving past it would never be aware of. The building has no windows; you have to go in and really listen to find the lightness on the edge of town.
Jennings’ prolific songbook has become increasingly personal. Now 42, his lyrical lens is refocused from a young artist figuring out his identity to ever-changing examinations of family, of home, of our limited time and acute observations of others’ lives. Thanks to Tigers guitarist Chase Kerby, drummer Dustin Ragland, organist Chris Wiser, and bassist / sound engineer Michael Trepagnier, he’s also sharpened his knack for memorable hooks.
The band’s MO on upbeat songs is airtightness, the listener receiving a tidy package that’s as fun to listen to as it is to perform. It’s rock ‘n’ roll for rock ‘n’ roll’s sake, handclaps and gang vocals propping up Jennings’ words and creating a world where metaphors are swapped with literalisms and vice-versa. Where 2016 saw Jennings ‘Back in Town’ chronicling a readjustment to being home again after time as an expat, here Jennings is once again on the inside, seeing what else there is to be found.
As of June 9, ‘People In This Town’ will be available online from fine music platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp and elsewhere at https://bmr.link/bjt-people-in-this-town. Beau Jennings & The Tigers will also be playing a series of shows in support of this new release.