Ian Noe live at The Burl in Lexington, Kentucky

“I’m a cocaine addict. I don’t reckon you know where I can get some do you?”

I swore off the Devil’s Dandruff before the young man that has approached me was born so I explain to him that I’m merely up from New Orleans to see Ian Noe and am not savvy as to Lexington’s underground narcotics scene.

“Well, if you come across any I’ll buy you a cold Miller if you can hook me up”

You run into all kinds when you’re seeing the current crop of young guns out on tour doing what Neil Young was back in the early 70s.

Ian Noe’s from Beattyville, Kentucky just 60 miles up the road from the Billy Holler where I was born.

Ricky Don from Beattyville, Kentucky with his beloved Theresa

So is Ricky Don.

The old plumber in the worn Harley t-shirt is buddies with Ian’s daddy Joey, and he’s brought a small crew of rough and tumble country boys from Lee and Owsley Counties to see Joey’s kid play at The Burl in Lexington.

They’ve all been watching him since he was 15 when he was playing backyard pig roasts and beer blasts along the Kentucky River.

A few of them claim that his daddy is a better musician than young Ian but others say that’s plain nonsense..

On the drive to The Burl to see Ian Noe in Lexington, Kentucky

I’d believe the nonsense camp after watching the younger Noe send a hot charge through the room by opening his concert with “Go Rest Easy” the best song on his brand new album.

He may have led off with it to keep people from begging and hollering for it throughout the concert.

The next hour sounds like a 50 year old music-man rolling through a greatest hits set. Noe may as well have been Townes Van Zandt playing at Soap Creek Saloon in Austin in ‘84.

You can practically taste the Pearl beer and smell the Panama Red.

Ian Noe’s debut record “Between The Country” breathes the same air as 70s Neil Young and Townes Van Zandt

After a blistering set, I retire to the outdoor fire pit where the old Lee County regulars are agog at their young countryman’s performance.

A fat spliff is making the rounds.

“I shore hope he don’t get too big for his britches” mentions one of them at Noe’s seeming impending stardom.

Another reckons that he’s already too big to play Beattyville’s Woolly Worm Festival coming up in a few months.

Talk turns to “Between The Country” Noe’s debut record. “Hell it ain’t his first one” one man exclaims. I’ve got a old cd at the house somewhere if I could lay my hands on it.

If it exists it’ll certainly be a collector’s item one day I offer.

He chuckles and his face turns crafty, “Might get rich off of it on Ebay”

The young dope fiend shows back up.

“I’m a free born man” he hollers as he quick trots towards the bathroom

A big freight train makes its way across the railroad tracks. For a few minutes the crowd is trapped, cut off from the rest of the world til the engineer sees fit to keep moving.

I wonder if young Ian felt that way growing up in hardscrabble Lee County, Kentucky.

The Burl. 375 Thompson Rd, Lexington, Kentucky 40508

This track will make you take a high speed run to the nearest record store Ian Noe “Letter to Madeline”

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