Josh Halverson ‘One Shot’

Halverson-cover

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#867 in the Series) is Josh Halverson, One Shot

When you are applying your trade in a neighborhood that many consider to be the hottest breeding ground of stellar artists this side of Brooklyn or Glasgow, and hang up your performing shingle in Austin, Texas, a city that bills itself as “The Live Music Capitol of the World,” it takes a lot of mojo and a boat-load of talent to set yourself apart, and Josh Halverson has both.

From the opening track, “Take Me to Forever,” from his excellent new album, One Shot, your ears perk up to the point that would make a Doberman Pinscher proud as you are treated to a vibe that floats somewhere between Laurel Canyon, Cosmic Cowboy Jackson Browne and J.D. Souther style, early 70’s Poco, with some fine pedal steel work courtesy of Brian Douglas Phillips (who also serves as producer on the record), and the best of present-day Americana Roots Rock in the Justin Townes Earle mold, with the hipness quotient turned up a few notches courtesy of Jesse Malin, an artist that seems to share some rock DNA with Halverson.

It seems particularly appropriate for the album to open with the simple rhythm of a bass drum with Josh, the son of a Texas rancher and a Sioux Indian, winning the songwriter of the year  award at the 2011 Native American Music Awards.  Wearing his heritage proudly, the award signifies his connection to the land, the world around him, and mostjosh-halverson-promo-sm importantly his stellar songwriting skills. His ability to take the listener on a self- assessment, introspective journey into your own psyche is most clearly demonstrated on the song, “Gimme One Shot.”  I’ve been knocked down/And I’ve lost it all/Been pushed so hard/I couldn’t  breathe at all/And the world is the strongest war you’ll face/It will leave you breathless/Make you lose your faith. This is a song that could have appeared on any Paul Simon album.

A personal favorite song is the closer, “A Heart to See You Through,” where Josh tells us about the ups and downs of a relationship, from break-ups to make- ups, with a quickie in a rest stop, and a wedding in- between. In the end he sums things up perfectly. “This heart, oh honey it’s the heart that deserves you.”

The album was recorded in the producers’ living room, and has a distinct live, yet non-rushed, sound that that can only be achieved with musicians playing live, with a true connection to the music. Weighing in at a perfectly tidy 10 songs, this is an album that will grow on you with subsequent listens. This will also be the CD you put on when you are drinking some Tito’s vodka in your back yard with friends and you are asked to play a record by an artist they do not know, but should. Right now One Shot by Josh Halverson is that album.

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– Walt Falconer, Houston Texas, USA

 Track Listingjosh-halverson-45

  1. Take Me To Forever 4:18
  2. Comfort Me 5:14
  3. Gimme One Shot 4:47
  4. Miss Ruth 3:38
  5. Nothing To Lose 4:47
  6. This Time Around 5:00
  7. I Did It For You 4:50
  8. Be Strong 4:12
  9. Bartender 2:57
  10. A Heart To See You Through 4:29

Personnel

  • Josh Halverson — vocals, guitar, piano 
  • Brian Douglas Phillips — pedal steel, banjo, electric guitar, piano, vocals 
  • Sam Pankey — bass 
  • Fred Mandujano — drums 
  • Andy Tindall — fiddle 
  • Jaimee Harris — backing vocals

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