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Down Home

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  • Posted September 9, 2011

    thrilling ride from start to finish

    As I first began to spin this solo album from Josh Williams, I must admit that I wasn't quite expecting his rendition of "Lonesome Feeling" to incorporate a pulsing, metrical drum track. It's nothing personal against Tony Creasman's musicianship or his percussion that doesn't appear again until the last five album tracks. I just feel that Josh's guitar and mandolin are more than adequate to rhythmically carry the music on this album, especially those from the bluegrass tree. However, we also find that Josh Williams has his feet planted in multiple genres and has an innate ability to convey many moods with his music. The liner notes compare Josh Williams' spark and verve to that of a young Dwight Yoakam or Randy Travis. Further, his repertoire draws from the songs of Jimmy Martin, Tom T. Hall, Carl Jackson, Vern Gosdin, Flatt & Scruggs, Special Consensus, Buck Owens, Tommy Jackson, and The Delmore Brothers. The more you listen to "Down Home," the more you'll appreciate the sturdy and self-assured presentation of this young man with his thrilling virtuosity, versatility and emotional impact.

    The multiple IBMA and SPBGMA award winner may be best known as an instrumentalist, the former guitarist in Rhonda Vincent's band. But Josh can also deliver understated, thoughtful, delicate vocals. With its mellow percussion and pedal steel guitar, "Down Home" (the title cut written by Carl Jackson) is a wistful ballad and perhaps the best example of Josh's stylistic delivery of expressive, enticing country vocals. "Kodak 1955" has a carefully cultivated nostalgic theme. Master songcrafters Tom T. and Dixie Hall always know how to turn a phrase and find a catchy hook as they do with "We'll Burn That Bridge" . when we get to it. Guest harmony vocalists include Rhonda Vincent, Tim Dishman, Mickey Harris, Darrin Vincent, Jamie Dailey, Carl Jackson, and Tina Adair. Guest instrumental artists include Tony Rice, Stuart Duncan, Jason Carter, Randy Kohrs, Kenny Ingram, Greg Cahill, and others. "Blue Railroad Train" is a perfect piece for Tony Rice's alluring guitar work. Besides his own prevalent and tasteful guitar and mandolin, it's a treat to hear Josh also shake it up on banjo on the instrumental "Cherokee Shuffle."

    Josh Williams' "Down Home" is a well-crafted collection of enjoyable, stirring contemporary bluegrass music with distinctive country spice. Whether your preference is for a soulful bluegrass ballad, feisty toe-tapper, or rootsy country song, "Down Home" is a thrilling ride from start to finish. (Joe Ross, Oregon)

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