Jamestown Revival Returns With Topical Track 'Crazy World (Judgement Day)': Premiere

Jamestown Revival
Paul Pryor

Jamestown Revival

Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance did not consider themselves particularly topical on the first two albums by their band Jamestown Revival. But the times are such that the Austin, Texas, duo couldn’t help being affected by them -- evidenced on "Crazy World (Judgement Day)," premiering exclusively below from the group's upcoming third album. A stripped-down video also premieres below.

"Jonathan and I write from having a conversation or reflecting about things we've experienced," Chance tells Billboard. "This is like if you were sitting at a bar with a friend and having a couple of drinks and another crazy event of the day comes across the news ticker and you're like, 'Man, this is a f---ing crazy place we live in.' It's that feeling a little down in the dumps as far as the state of affairs and what we as human beings are doing with ourselves now."

The song, bolstered by a mellow stomp beat, is not necessarily specific, although Chance acknowledges that "there's a little bit of judgment in there -- South Park kind of judgment, maybe." Clay, meanwhile, notes that "the elephant in the room is the political climate of today, the division and the vitriol and people hating people. It honestly keeps me up at night and gives me anxiety. It feels like people who were friends are now no longer friends due to political differences, and that's heartbreaking to me. I think we agree on a lot more than we realize. It feels like we're being played like puppets sometimes."

"Crazy World," along with several other songs from the new album, features vocals taken from a demo tape Jamestown Revival recorded during writing sessions in Austin.  The 11-track set, which is due in the spring on Thirty Tigers, was produced by the band and Jamie Mefford. Clay and Chance describe it as a return to the mellower, rootsy sound of the group's 2014 debut, Utah, after the harder rocking The Education of a Wandering Man in 2016.

"We were really drawn sonically to the real simple kind of '60s, '70s folk music, from [Bob] Dylan to [John] Denver to James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, a lot of CSNY influence," Clay notes. "It's a lot of stuff where you don't have to have drums for the song to feel complete. I think we created some music that makes you want to lean into it a bit."

Jamestown Revival, which spent 2018 off the road, returns to touring in earnest during April and will be "covering the gamut pretty good this year," according to Clay. "It was nice to take a step back and unplug from everything, even social media. I think we're ready to rev it up again now."