Since releasing their last prior album, 2015’s Geronimo, the Austin, Texas, five-piece have plunged ever deeper into their adventure as a touring band. Hundreds of shows a year in more than 40 different states and on three different continents, have brought them to the 10 stormy tracks that make up Hail Mary, which was released in June 2019. Now three albums and nearly 10 years into their career, Shane Smith & the Saints are ready to go for broke. Recorded at the same hometown studio as Geronimo, Matt Noveskey (of Blue October)’s Orb Recording Studio, Hail Mary was produced by Mark Needham (Imagine Dragons, The Killers), marking the first time the band has worked with an outside producer. Hail Mary crosses the gritty, blue-collar storytelling of Bruce Springsteen with the singsong hooks of Mumford & Sons. Most of all, it’s an album with a lot of heart. A native of Terrell, Texas, Smith first headed to Tyler Junior College in East Texas, where he was part of the tennis program. But he was soon lured to the “Live Music Capital of the World,” where he attended St. Edwards University and soon connected with another group of players, those who now make up the Saints. Today that group includes Bennett Brown on fiddle, Dustin Schaefer on lead guitar, Chase Satterwhite on bass, and Zach Stover on drums. Their first album, Coast, was released in 2013, and featured appearances by fellow Texas underdogs Aaron Watson and Ryan Engleman. Two years later came Geronimo, which Smith sees carrying a similar sort of double meaning to Hail Mary. As in the past, that will be done through Geronimo West Records, the label Smith runs with his wife. Lucky for them, Shane Smith & the Saints’ family has only grown through their tireless touring in recent years. Having long been grouped in with the sprawling, grassroots genres of Texas Country and Red Dirt music, Smith says that fanbase is uniquely suited to their own single-minded approach. With Hail Mary, those fans will have their best representation yet of the barnstorming concerts that likely drew them to Shane Smith & the Saints in the first place. Heaven knows Shane Smith & the Saints have earned that loyalty.