Josh Swensen review…November 25, 2016…

JOSH SWENSEN

I’LL CALL YOU WHEN I REACH TWO HARBORS

CAMPERVAN RECORDS

ANN MARIE–AWAKE MY HEART–TAIL LIGHTS DOWN THE STREET–I’M COMING HOME–PALOMINO ROSE–MINNESOTA PINES–SHE LOOKS GOOD

It wasn’t that long ago that Josh Swensen was a high school senior who had just released his debut EP.  Now, as a young man heading into adulthood, his life has already undergone some major changes, not all of them positive.  But, he has used his music as a fountain for healing, and that feeling of perseverance is prevalent throughout his latest album, seven original cuts that comprise “I’ll Call You When I Reach Two Harbors,” on Campervan Records.

His Minnesota upbringing is also a big part of the sound on this set, full of Americana, folk, and alt-country influences.  The set came about when Josh took an impromptu trip to the Upper Peninsula of Minnesota, with Lake Superior as the backdrop.  He pays tribute to some of his favorite writers, including Jeff Tweedy and Jason Isbell, and we heard a few of our favorites within the mix, namely Johnny Cash and another famous Minnesotan, Bob Dylan.

At times somber and poignant, and, at others, humorous and irreverent, these songs are quite eclectic.  Leading off is a song with a “letter from home” vibe, “Ann Marie,” then bends into a good alt-country mode with the Cash-infused chugging beat of “Awake My Heart and let me sing my song to you.”  Michael Cervony adds some sweet slide to the tale of a man seeking redemption and perhaps escape from a life in the “Minnesota Pines.”

The set closes with our favorite.  It’s a rockabilly rave-up that owes much to the current “selfie” craze, as, with his latest lover, “She Looks Good with the filter on!”

Josh Swenson’s father suffered a debilitating injury in a car accident, but recovered sufficiently to serve as producer on “I’ll Call You When I Reach Two Harbors.”  It is a set  that shows Josh’s ability to let his music pave his future’s path for him.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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