The Mountain Goats Share “Clean Slate,” Announce New Album

The Mountain Goats announce their new album Jenny from Thebes, a sequel to their beloved 2002 album All Hail West Texas, with the release of its lead single “Clean Slate.” The album, due October 27th via Merge Records, is a lush collection of showtunes, pushing John Darnielle as a vocalist and the Mountain Goats as a band, broadening their sonic palette once again by leaning into influences like Godspell, Jim Steinman, and The Cars. Jenny from Thebes is a widescreen musical in scope, a melodrama of richly detailed characters and sweeping emotions.

Of the track, John Darnielle says, “We’re proud to reveal ‘Clean Slate,’ the first song from our new album, Jenny from Thebes. People like to hedge bets by using terms like ‘concept album’ but let’s be clear, this is a rock opera about a woman named Jenny, who buys a Kawasaki to ride as far away as she can from a town she’s been carrying on her shoulders too long. ‘Clean Slate’ sets the scene: this is the house Jenny rents; these are the people who crash there when they need a place to stay; this is where she’s at in the process of becoming someone other than the keyholder she’s been. Produced by Trina Shoemaker! Played by the Mountain Goats at the Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma! Respect to the real pirates of west Texas, still out there on the roads: may you remain one step ahead forever!

The Mountain Goats will be on tour this summer and fall in support of Jenny from Thebes. All dates can be found below.

Jenny from Thebes began its life as many albums by the Mountain Goats do, with John Darnielle playing the piano until a lyric emerged. That lyric, “Jenny was a warrior / Jenny was a thief / Jenny hit the corner clinic begging for relief,” became “Jenny III,” a song which laid down a challenge he’d never taken up before: writing a sequel to one of his most beloved albums.

The Mountain Goats’ catalog is thick with recurring characters—Jenny, who originally appears in the All Hail West Texas track bearing her name, as well as in “Straight Six” from Jam Eater Blues and  Transcendental Youth side two jam “Night Light,” is one of these, someone who enters a song unexpectedly, pricking up the ears of fans who are keen on continuing the various narrative threads running through the Mountain Goats’ discography before vanishing into the mist. In these songs, Jenny is largely defined by her absence, and she is given that definition by other characters. She is running from something. These features are beguiling, both to the characters who’ve told her story so far and to the listener. They invite certain questions: Who is Jenny, really? What is she running from? Well, she’s a warrior and a thief, and, this being an album by the Mountain Goats, it’s a safe bet whatever she’s fleeing is something bad. Something catastrophically bad.

Jenny from Thebes is the story of Jenny, her southwestern ranch-style house, the people for whom that house is a place of safety, and the west Texas town that is uncomfortable with its existence. It is a story about the individual and society, about safety and shelter, and those who choose to provide care when nobody else will.


8/4 – New York, NY @ The Rooftop at Pier 17

8/5 – Boston, MA @ Citizens House of Blues

8/8 – Seattle, WA @ Woodland Park Zoo – SOLD OUT

8/9 – Portland, OR – Pioneer Courthouse Square

10/2 – Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern

10/3 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Belasco

10/5 – San Francisco, CA @ August Hall

10/6 – San Francisco, CA @ August Hall – SOLD OUT

10/7 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades

10/9 – Spokane, WA @ Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox

10/10 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory

10/11 – Bozeman, MT @ The ELM

10/13 – Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre

10/14 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre

10/27 – Lubbock, TX @ Cactus Theater 

10/28 – Dallas, TX @ Longhorn Ballroom 

10/29 – Houston, TX @ Heights Theater