A few weeks ago, MJ Lenderman unveiled the standalone single “Rudolph.” Though the song was part of the greater announcement that the Asheville singer/songwriter had joined ANTI- Records’ label, “Rudolph” quickly stood on a pedestal just as high as Lenderman’s breakout 2022 album Boat Songs. Today, he’s back with another single (and perennial live show favorite that appeared on his 2021 EP of the same name) “Knockin.” The track is a high-fi update of a not-so-new track, and it’s just as good as anything Lenderman has made, maybe better—depending on who you ask.
“Knockin” is a blistering country-rock track that puts one thing at the center of attention: Lenderman’s uncanny ability to absolutely shred. With Xandy Chelmis’ pedal steel and a mountain of percussion backing him up, “Knockin” takes on a life of its own. Lenderman’s lyricism is at an 11 here, too, as he makes a play on Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” while keeping up his trademark fusion of earnestness. and poetic humor. “Loneliness is simple, not much else is,” he sings. “Her love for me is real, she gives me what she has to give. She gave me wings and I caught blight.”
Listen to “Knockin” below.