Josh Nolan is one of those artists I know what I was writing up the first time I heard him. The first time I heard him was also the first time I heard him live. He was filling in on guitar for Lexington, Kentucky rock group Those Crosstown Rivals (R.I.P), a band I miss dearly. Even that night I was very impressed with his playing and his stage presence. The next time I saw him was at A Nine Bullets showcase in Lexington, Kentucky. This time he played a solo set, and I was blown away. By the way the opening act that day was a guy named Tyler Childers. Anyways Josh Nolan is a name I have kept on my radar since that day. So when I heard he was releasing a new album, I knew it was one I wanted to review. As he the latest artist to emerge from Kentucky. I’m starting to believe there is something in the water there.
Over the past ten years or som Americana has become a favorite genre of mine. And for good reason, I 100% believe these artists are some of the best songwriters in all of music. And I know that’s a bold statement, but it’s how I feel. I can put on an Americana album and within a few minutes I’m lost in the music, and that’s a feeling that I love. Josh Nolan is one of those musicians that does that for me.
Kind Heart to Follow is his second release, and at this rate he is only going to get better, as his first release is a favorite, this album is gaining ground already. It starts with a nice little kick: the track “Angles with Dirty Faces” is a good introduction to the world of Josh Nolan if you are new to his music. I’m a fan of good first tracks, and this is one. If you are expecting mainstream rock/country/Americana, then you are listening to the wrong guy. You’ll find that out pretty quick. The next track, “Kein Hirte” was the first song released from the album, and I was instantly a fan. I couldn’t wait to hear the rest of the album. One aspect that sticks out here is his gravelly voice. I’m not sure why, but I’m a huge fan of singers with gravelly voices. While Josh’s isn’t as heavy as some, it’s there. “Revelations: Things Could Be Different” is my favorite track. It’s the one I can listen to over and over and just get lost in the words and feeling that come with it. One of the best lines I’ve heard in a while is in this song: “I want you to hold me, cause I want to know how it feels to know how you sin.” Are you kidding me? Who writes lines like that? I love it!!!! And I’m a sucker for a well-written song about love and relationships. It’s not all country, the song “She Likes Pulp” is a nice little rock like number. And he does it well, as he is very talented. The next track, “The Honeysuckle (Hold On)” is another one that sticks out to me. This is mainly because of the title. Growing up in Georgia, I remember playing with these flowers and trying to eat them. This is one of those songs that I easily get lost in, as it takes me back home. But the song itself is solid as they come. Around the 3:45 mark it turns into a jam session, and it’s a thing of pure beauty. I find myself getting lost again but not in my childhood but my early 20s and my time in North Carolina. I really would love to witness this song live. It’s that good.
The 9 tracks that make up this release are some the most honest songwriting you are going to hear in 2019. And I for one respect that. It’s nice to hear an artist write about real life and the things that impact them, and that is exactly what Josh Nolan has done.