Joshua James | From the Top of Willamette Mountain Review

Joshua James is a folk singer based out of Nebraska and he has released a new album called From the Top of Willamette Mountain. His music is often paced at a gradual speed and exudes an intense emotional tone.  The first track off of his latest album is called Mystic and is carried by a very strong lyric which is a kind of preamble to the song’s chorus; ‘But I sold you for a cigarette’.  The engaging impact of this line really comes from Mystic’s first few lines which describe, very vividly, an ideal and of a woman with qualities and characteristics that would set any Nebraska boys heart aflame. This ideal description though, is met with a rather callus eventuality which was in essence, the same as selling that ideal person, for something as plane and common as a simple cigarette. The chorus then opens up to a very visual lyrical arena, where death is a dark cave you have confined yourself in and requires that you feast upon your own soul while maniacs scream hallelujah.  And with that unexaggerated piece of introduction to Joshua James’s new album you get the sense that this guy just might be a romantic. But that is now the only reason why you might like or dislike this singer. The track Surrender has a bit of a James Blunt vibe to it, set to a clanging piano progression with a handy portion of synth filling out the songs backdrop in a delicate manner that reminds you of a 60s pop number.

Joshua James might be a bit of a dramatic lyricist but a great man once said that there is no cynicism or sarcasm in the lyrics of a musician; it’s just hard to remember if he was joking or not when he wrote that.  The fact of the matter is that, what James has made with From the Top of Willamette Mountain has something very likable about it.    


Clinic | Free Reign A Review

Clinic is a band from Liverpool England that has a new album that came out November 13th. The question every well versed music listener asks themselves before they are offered a new album is why? Why would I want to dedicate any amount of my time to a band I have not heard of, care about or have any vestige of interest?  If you have any interest in bands such as the formative Tommy James and the Shondells, the band that gave us Crimson and Clover, you might feel a draw to Clinic’s new album.  Their latest album Free Reign is laced with psychedelic rhythms that drone on like a well-timed whiskey high.  Some of the tracks even bring to mind The Doors. This is most likely by design, however the effort put forth by the band is a reward in itself, demonstrating an underlining appreciation for the classics while not falling prey to the unwanted title of copycat or mere imitator. There are a few tracks that lack any real memorable moments on Free Reign but the good definitely outweighs any bad on this compelling new album from Clinic.  

But let’s all be honest, this past fall has not been a hotbed of musical invocation or even anything relatively listenable.  Maybe independent artists are just pushing off releasing their albums until the New Year so they can put some finishing touches on them during the Christmas break. Here’s to hoping.