TVD Video Premiere: India Ramey, “King of
the Ashes”

PHOTO: STACIE HUCKEBA | India Ramey didn’t know for certain what would happen when she saw a political ill wind blow in late 2016. Still, she wrote the clarion warning “King of the Ashes” unaware it’d be so well suited to the most challenging American spring anyone can remember, with with more than 109,000 dead from a pandemic, millions out of work, and uprisings in every state against the country’s historic pandemic, racism. As such, Ramey’s warning, with twangy guitar and a call to action, couldn’t be more timely.

The Vinyl District is proud to premiere the stirring “King of the Ashes” video, a harbinger of her upcoming fourth album Shallow Graves due in stores September 4. “I woke up in a different world today,” it begins. “All that I held dear had been stripped away.” She warns of a man about to burn everything down, who preys on the fearful and the weak, who will “burn it down to be king of the ashes.”

By the time Ramey calls for people to rise up in the first ringing chorus, it’s all too clear of whom she speaks. “I wrote it about Trump, and was predicting that there would be some sort of apocalypse under his reign,” says Ramey, who was a a deputy district attorney in Montgomery, Alabama, before she became one of Nashville’s most promising voices.

“I am sorry to say that I was right. It proved to be quite the prophetic song, unfortunately,” says Ramey, who has been pegged an alt country performer to watch since her first album Junkyard Angel a decade ago. With a bracing righteousness that matches her tunefulness, Ramey is sometimes categorized alongside Jason Isbell, whose Southeastern engineer Mark Petaccia produced the new disc, her first since 2017’s Southern Gothic-flavored Snake Handler.

Snarling and more guitar-driven than her past work, the whole of Shallow Graves bristles with resistance and reverb. “This album speaks out against corruption and hypocrisy,” Ramey says. “And there are a lot of people these days who feel they hold a high moral ground and throw around things like religion to maintain their position of power.” Accordingly, she closes the new album with a cover of Hank Williams’ “Angel of Death.”

The video for “King of Ashes” reflects our social distanced spring, with Ramey singing out as if from an underground pirate radio station, getting out the message to friends, family and fans who had each sent in clips of them listening and responding to the renegade broadcast. Finally, it’s artfully strung together as an urgent black and white call to action that has much more life than any Zoom connection. It ends with a booming guitar outro with a link to voter registration.

The single will be out on Spotify June 12; pre-orders for Shallow Graves, including one on bone-colored vinyl, is available here.

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