Sunday, September 11, 2016

Josh Garrett – Honey for My Queen | Album Review

Josh Garrett – Honey for My Queen

Self Release

10 tracks / 43:26

Josh Garrett hails from Louisiana, and his influences from the Sportsman’s State result in a cool blend of roots, blues, and generally soulful music. He took up the guitar when he was twelve, and right he away got into songwriting. The subsequent years of practice and hard work have resulted in a series of increasingly awesome projects and the Josh Garrett Band’s fourth album, Honey for My Queen, is the best of the bunch. This disc contains a fun set of listenable and unique original music that should appeal to fans of many genres.

For this project Josh did vocals and guitar work as well as writing and arranging all ten of the songs. A fine crew of drummers and bassists joined him in the studio, and you will also hear Waylon Thibodeaux on fiddle, C.R. Gruver on the keyboards, and Clay White on the harmonica. The set starts off with the title track, and “Honey for My Queen” has a mellow Southern rock feel with lovely barroom piano from Gruver, slightly distorted harmonica from White, and a tight backline. The lyrics are a witty ode from one worker bee to his queen, and they are delivered in a pleasant tenor tone. Here are a few other highlights from the CD:

- Special guest artist James Johnson appears on “Same Boat,” and you may remember him as the guitarist for Slim Harpo back in the 1960s. James took a break from music after Harpo passed on in 1970, but he came back in the 1990s, and he contributes his voice and guitar to this soulful rhythm and blues tune.

- You will find some sweet country blues with “Goodnight, Goodnight,” which has the instrumentation stripped back to just an acoustic guitar and the harmonica. This love song uses a classic 12-bar blues base with repeated phrases to get its point across, and the guitar uses both slick fingerstyle and a bit of slide to carry the melody.

- The band also included an uptempo instrumental, “Slide in ‘G’.” This tune has a funky drum beat with popping bass, and killer Hammond B3 courtesy of Gruver. The harp and guitar are used to carry the leads (with a cool organ break midway through), and this song acts as a neat interlude midway through the album.

- “Whole Bottle of Whine” is not just a clever song title, the lyrics are witty too as they beseech a loved one to ease up on the drinking. The music is a compelling combination of blues-funk and country, complete with a generous display of tricky chicken picking on the guitar, and a fun call and response with the guys in the band.

43 minutes goes by quickly, and before you know it the disc finishes up with “Moonshine & Cigarettes.” The band gives this song the full Crescent City treatment with jazzy drums and NOLA style piano and harp, which is a great homage to Josh’s home state. The Josh Garrett Band did a fine bit of work with Honey for My Queen, with well-written songs. Check it out for yourself and make sure you head over to their website to see if they are playing near you any time soon!

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