Have to start this one out with a huge “Thank You” to Andrew Griffin, from Red Dirt Report. This is his review of Josh Thompson’s new CD, “Way Out Here,” on Columbia Nashville. If any of you aren’t familiar with Josh’s music, head on over to his web site and check out his video.
Red Dirt Review: Reading a recent article in the Toledo Blade about new Nashville artist Josh Thompson, the impression you get is that the Wisconsin native is just a regular guy. He likes his brews – note his big honky-tonkin’hit “Beer On the Table” – outlaw country (“Blame it On Waylon”), and seeking redemption (the honest and heartfelt “Sinner”).
Thompson’s debut album, Way Out Here, on the Columbia Nashville label, is remarkably strong, with Thompson having written or co-written every one of the 10 songs featured. This should come as no surprise. Before recording his own album he had penned John Michael Carroll’s “Growing Up is Getting Old.” All this from a guy from the Upper Midwest who didn’t learn to play guitar until his early 20’s.
Thompson is a natural. That easy-going vibe and piercing reality – think Alan Jackson crossed with Eric Church – works well for him.
Produced by Michael Knox (Jason Aldean), Way Out Here kicks off with a strong song – the aforementioned blue-collar anthem “Beer On the Table” – and works its way from there through mid-tempo country songs to Southern-styled rockers with country overtones. There’s a ballad or two.
The current single, full of rural imagery, is the title track, “Way Out Here.” This is Montgomery Gentry territory (think “My Town”) – where folks “way out here” are “about John Wayne, Johnny Cash and John Deere” and where they admit to a Haggard-esque “fightin’ side” where folks pray for peace but “end up servin’ overseas.”
On “Always Been Me,” that Montgomery Gentry comparison pops up again, mainly because Thompson’s vocalization reminds me of Troy Gentry. Listen and you’ll recognize it.
Reminiscing about his past in a small town is the subject of “A Name In This Town.” He’s actually lived these lyrics – from schoolyard fights to draggin’ the strip. And then hitching his dreams “to a shooting star.”
“Yeah, I got a name in this town / Some good and some bad that I’ll never live down / Anywhere else I’m just a face in a crowd / But I got a name in this town.”
The album closer, the pleasant power ballad “I Won’t Go Crazy,” is a Brad Paisley sort of song, but better. More authenticity. Literary references to Hemingway and Shakespeare.
Way Out Here is a terrific debut from a rising country star who has earned his position as one of Nashville’s newest talents.
I hope you will all head over to Josh’s web site. In addition to videos and photographs, and a very interesting bio, you can also check out the list of where Josh is going to be next… and hopefully get to check out a live performance soon. The photos on this post are from Josh’s web site.
I’ll talk to you all soon!