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Josh Small - Tall (Cover Artwork)

Josh Small

Josh Small: TallTall (2007)
Suburban Home Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: Avail73Avail73
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Initially, I was going to review one of Tim Barry's solo CDs (Laurel St. Demo 2005 or Rivanna Junction) instead of Tall by Josh Small. Me being one of the biggest Avail fans in the world and an equally huge Tim Barry fan, I knew I couldn't be objective. Last year, I had the chance to see Tim Barry p.
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Initially, I was going to review one of Tim Barry's solo CDs (Laurel St. Demo 2005 or Rivanna Junction) instead of Tall by Josh Small. Me being one of the biggest Avail fans in the world and an equally huge Tim Barry fan, I knew I couldn't be objective. Last year, I had the chance to see Tim Barry play at the The Note in Chicago and one of the guys who plays in his band was one of the opening acts. He was a very small guy with a cut-off-sleeve shirt, trucker hat and cowboy boots. It was hard to hear him with all the trendy Chicago pukes talking over the music who were only there to 'be seen' and talk about how wasted they were going to be that night. I caught snippets of songs that sounded great and picked up his CD after the show. I was pleasantly surprised by the honesty and heartfelt tones of Tall.

Throughout this CD, you can't help but feel that Josh was alone, maybe slightly drunk (in a good way) and on his front porch in VA when writing these songs. Josh's voice has a feel of despair and hope all rolled into one. When he sings songs like "Come Down," "Peek Out the Windows" and "Knife in My Belly," it's almost as if he's accepting the pain and putting a positive spin on it, which is what true great artists do.

There are various musicians who contribute to this disc playing drums, violin, congas, upright bass, and piano giving this a feeling of a group of friends getting together and jamming on whatever their heart feels at the moment. A few songs even have a gospel feel to them ("Knife in My Belly") that could easily be sung during any Sunday mass. The songs all flow together and you can picture a few guys sitting on their front porch playing these songs over and over again. That dirty old Southern gospel feel oozes out of every minute Josh small is performing.

Make no mistake about it, this is not one man and an acoustic guitar writing three-chord punk songs. Josh Small has extreme talent to write songs and play it all on acoustic, slide, and banjo. The rhythms, solos, and vocal ranges achieved by Josh are quite mind-blowing. He's not trying to be like Tim Barry or Chuck Ragan; he's taking what these guys do a step further and putting his own twist on acoustic folk/country and making it refreshing.

One can only hope Josh decides to break out on his own more and release some new material in the near future. While myself and many other enjoy the contributions he has made to Tim Barry's solo work, Josh is set to make a name for himself and step into the spotlight as one of this genre's most talented songwriters.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Sawdonkey (February 18, 2008)

Actually, it was a William Elliott Whitmore show.

alamo (February 17, 2008)

You saw sundowner. douche.

Hey_Asshole (February 16, 2008)

actually, Red_Eye, at acoustic shows, it is like that.

all you needed to do was go see the Matt Skiba, Chuck Ragan, Sundowner show at Metro a while back. it was hard to hear over the kids talking.

this is true for any of the times i have seen Sundowner or Chuck Ragan.

kids at chicago shows are fucking annoying

baseball (February 15, 2008)

i dig it but i think it's a little long...guess i'd just prefer him in smaller doses (no pun intended)

24HourPriapism (February 15, 2008)

this was honestly one of my favorite albums of 07, i was a little disappointed to see how little exposure this got on .orger's year-end lists. dude's got such a great, plaintive voice. the replay value of this album's pretty astonishing too. i find myself tossing it on every couple days. i still haven't gotten one bit tired of it.

red_eye_inc (February 15, 2008)

"It was hard to hear him with all the trendy Chicago pukes talking over the music who were only there to 'be seen' and talk about how wasted they were going to be that night."

People in Chicago aren't like that, this isn't L.A. Also, there's not much glamour in being seen at a Tim Barry show.

mpc (February 15, 2008)

Awesome to see this reviewed here. Josh is a hell of a singer and a great guy. Peek Out the Windows and Come Down are my favorites on this album but his first CD has some great tracks too. I'm glad he wound up on Suburban Home, such a great label.

onegirlarmy (February 15, 2008)

I've sadly never seen Josh Small on his own, only in Tim Barry's band. His record is so good though.

copperandstarsco (February 15, 2008)

"It was hard to hear him with all the trendy Chicago pukes talking over the music who were only there to 'be seen' and talk about how wasted they were going to be that night."

Simply not necessary to put in a review

badbrain (February 15, 2008)

I also first saw Josh when he was opening for Tim, I love the atmosphere at those shows and on this disc especially. Thsi is a significant improvement over his first S/T cd too I think.

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