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RDR CD REVIEW: 'Way Out Here' by Josh Thompson

'Way Out Here' by Josh Thompson was released in early 2010
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By Andrew W. Griffin

Red Dirt Report, editor

Posted: April 7, 2010

reddirtreporter@gmail.com

CD REVIEW: Josh Thompson – Way Out Here (Columbia Nashville) 2010

Reading a recent article in the Toledo Blade about new Nashville artist Josh Thompson, the impression you get is that the Wisconsin native is just a regular guy. He likes his brews – note his big honky-tonkin’hit “Beer On the Table” – outlaw country (“Blame it On Waylon”), and seeking redemption (the honest and heartfelt “Sinner”).

Thompson’s debut album, Way Out Here, on the Columbia Nashville label, is remarkably strong, with Thompson having written or co-written every one of the 10 songs featured. This should come as no surprise. Before recording his own album he had penned John Michael Carroll’s “Growing Up is Getting Old.” All this from a guy from the Upper Midwest who didn’t learn to play guitar until his early 20’s.

Thompson is a natural. That easy-going vibe and piercing reality – think Alan Jackson crossed with Eric Church – works well for him.

Produced by Michael Knox (Jason Aldean), Way Out Here kicks off with a strong song – the aforementioned blue-collar anthem “Beer On the Table” – and works its way from there through mid-tempo country songs to Southern-styled rockers with country overtones. There’s a ballad or two.

The current single, full of rural imagery, is the title track, “Way Out Here.” This is Montgomery Gentry territory (think “My Town”) – where folks “way out here” are “about John Wayne, Johnny Cash and John Deere” and where they admit to a Haggard-esque “fightin’ side” where folks pray for peace but “end up servin’ overseas.”

On “Always Been Me,” that Montgomery Gentry comparison pops up again, mainly because Thompson’s vocalization reminds me of Troy Gentry. Listen and you’ll recognize it.

Reminiscing about his past in a small town is the subject of “A Name In This Town.” He’s actually lived these lyrics – from schoolyard fights to draggin’ the strip. And then hitching his dreams “to a shooting star.”

Yeah, I got a name in this town / Some good and some bad that I’ll never live down / Anywhere else I’m just a face in a crowd / But I got a name in this town.”

More backwoods pride comes through on the cornfed country-rocker “You Ain’t Seen Country Yet.” Nice pedal steel solo.

The album closer, the pleasant power ballad “I Won’t Go Crazy,” is a Brad Paisley sort of song, but better. More authenticity. Literary references to Hemingway and Shakespeare.

Way Out Here is a terrific debut from a rising country star who has earned his position as one of Nashville’s newest talents.

For more information and tour dates, go to www.joshthompsonofficial.com.

Grade - A

Copyright 2010 West Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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