Album Spotlight: Josh Thompson ‘Turn It Up’ – ToC Critic’s Pick
Almost every song on Josh Thompson’s ‘Turn It Up’ album has single potential, and those that don’t will be highlights of the ‘Cold Beer With Your Name On It’ singer’s live show.
With his first album Thompson quickly branded himself as the newest member of the blue collar country club. Songs from ‘Turn It Up’ fall in line without sounding like repeats, and without relying on old chestnuts. He keeps it short — just 10 well-crafted songs, only one of which cracks the three-thirty mark. All 10 are hooky and memorable.
Two themes that appear throughout are girls leaving and cars. The laid-back ‘Firebird’ is the only true love song, and it stands out for that reason. “Chill” isn’t a term one will use for many of these tracks. Most are like ‘Drink, Drink, Drink’ and the title-track.
“Turn up the music, turn up the band / Turn up the cold one there in your hand / Turn up the feel-good, turn up the crazy / Turn a little lovin’ loose on me baby,” he sings as one imagines beer spilling from bottles raised to salute his weekend anthem.
‘Down for a Get Down’ opens the album and sets the pace. It’s funkier than one expects, but not so funky it begins to smell. The singer and songwriter shows growth on this song and others like ‘’Left This Town.’
‘Hillbilly Limo’ is going to be a fan-favorite. Razor sharp production keep this wild good time from becoming an eye-roller, even when he sings “She ain’t gotta be pretty / She’s just gotta purr.”
‘Hank Crankin’ People’ is the album’s close –, a satisfying end to a fun rollercoaster ride. “We take our hats off when we face the flag / Twist cap off when we hear the hag / I’m right here with a hell-raisin’ kind / Cut from the same cloth as mine,” Thompson sings. Fans who liked his 2010 hit ‘Way Out Here’ will dig this song.
This isn’t a project for those who like their drinks fruity and cowboys in Abercrombie. It’s a two-day stubble, flannel shirt and torn blue jeans, Budweiser-drinkin’ sort of album. It’s an album for his fans, but there’s enough here to allow the newcomer to broaden his appeal. Just don’t expect him to be the next, great pop crossover.
Key Tracks: ‘Turn It Up,’ ‘Cold Beer …,’ ‘Hillbilly Limo,’ ‘Hank Crankin’ People’
His Hillbilly Limo: Thompson remembers a 1984 Dodge truck that needed oil at every fill-up and overheated regularly. Once he was adding oil, and got some on the engine block and it caught fire. He put it out with windshield washer fluid and kept right on driving.
Did You Know?: Thompson cut a second album for Sony, but it was never released. He still has the music, but says he started over for this album. He may repackage the unreleased songs one day, as a bonus album or EP.