Justin Wells first came to national attention with cult favorite Southern rock band Fifth on the Floor, which released a pair of well-received independent records before teaming up with Shooter Jennings on their breakout third album, 2013’s Ashes & Angels. The record debuted on the Billboard Country charts, earned critical raves, and helped land the band dates with the likes of Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, and Blackberry Smoke. The album would prove to be the band’s last, however.
With the rug suddenly pulled out from under him, Wells decided to write his way through the disappointment, emerging stronger and more creatively invigorated on the other side with his solo debut, Dawn in the Distance. The record (and its subsequent touring) prompted the best reviews of Wells’ career, with Rolling Stone hailing his “gift for melody” and Saving Country Music praising his “stunning insight and honesty.”
With his extraordinary second album, The United State, Kentucky’s Justin Wells explored our innate humanity and everything that comes with it: the joy, the sorrow, the ecstasy, the pain, the hope, the fear. Recorded with acclaimed producer Duane Lundy (Ringo Starr, Sturgill Simpson’s Sunday Valley, Joe Pug), the collection starts in the womb and works its way methodically to the afterlife, transcending politics and race and religion to tap into something far deeper, something infinitely more primal and timeless. While thematically speaking to commonalities in people’s lives, The United State underlines Wells’ commitment to carving his own path, tradition and genre be damned.