HOLDING ON–THE KIND–ROUND AND ROUND–WIRED–LEARN TO FIGHT–BALLAD FOR A FRIEND–RUNNING–YOU AND THE ROAD–SHIVER IN THE DARK–ENGLISH RAIN
Josh Harty is a product of the flourishing Americana and roots scene up ’round Madison WI. He’s been at it long enough to have four albums to his credit, and his fifth, “Holding on,” may just be his best. Over the last five or so years, he’s literally been like Hank Snow’s mythical character that’s “been everywhere, man,” touring 41 states, much of Europe, and the UK. He writes about life’s experiences, both his and the folks he’s met along his many travels.
That’s the cohesive spirit that permeates this album. Josh’s expressive, evocative vocals and equally-impressive guitar lines bring these songs to life, and we all know folks like the ones he sings about. Take “Round and Round” for example. Josh knows what we all know—the world is going to Hell in a hand basket, and if we don’t change, ‘we’ll all fall down in the end.”
The title cut deals with life being spent on the road for an extended period, and features harmonies from Kelley McRae and Matt Castelein, with mandolin from Chris Wagoner and harp from Ben Brookes Belcher. The set-closer is the opposite of “Holding On,” as Josh uses the backdrop of “English Rain” to convey his thoughts of homesickness after four years on the road.
We had two favorites, too. “Ballad For A Friend” has a dark, decidedly-bluesy feel, and is based on a true account of three young friends, one of whom is killed by the other two over a girlfriend, going to that dark place where “dying is easier than life,” with Chris Wagoner on that hellhound-on-my-trail dobro. And, an uptempo look at why we are the way we are is explained by Josh as “apparently, it’s the way i’m Wired,” again with Chris on mandolin and lap steel.
Josh Harty is one of those artists who enjoys interactions with his fans on his many journeys. He turns those experiences into songs, and “Holding On” is the well-crafted result! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.