Richmond, VA guitarist and songwriter Justin Golden’s debut album Hard Times and a Woman has recently been released, fusing Blues, Americana, and Indie Roots. The album sets out to “speak to the many faces of the blues, and also to the hard realities of racism in America today”. All the tracks also seem to advise caution: “Be wary when things start going too well”.

Golden was raised on the Virginia coast and is steeped in the distinctive, fingerpicked Piedmont blues of the central part of the state. He’s studied country blues and can name any number of influences from Blind Boy Fuller to Taj Mahal, but his key inspirations have always come from the indie guitar realm, specifically friends like Phil Cook and J Roddy Walston, with a little Hiss Golden Messenger, Daniel Norgren, and Bon Iver mixed in, with maybe a hint of James Taylor. Producer Chip Hale worked with Golden on the new album.

Golden embraces Blues tradition as a varied and freeing thing:

The blues is not a box. They try to make it seem like it’s just twelve bars or it’s gotta be sad or it’s gotta be this or that, but if you listen to so much old pre-war blues, there are so many feelings involved. There’s happy blues, sad blues, just got paid and spent all my money blues, gonna go see my girl late at night blues, there’s blues for anything. It doesn’t have to be a specific form or feeling, it can be whatever you want it to be, but you know it when you hear it.