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.