Four years after his debut Mr. Jukebox, Joshua Hedley is back with his second album Neon Blue. I received the country music recording before the release date as at 22nd April 2022 and share my thoughts with you.
Joshua Hedley – About The Artist
Joshua Hedley was born and raised in Naples, Florida. He was born on 20th January 1985 and already asked to start learning playing the fiddle at the age of three. At the age of 19, he moved to Nashville, where he also got the nickname “Mr. Jukebox”. The rationale behind that name is that he feels to be able to perform classic country song requested live on stage. The nickname also lead to the title of his 2018 debut album, which remarkably closes with When You Wish Upon a Star. The song was originally used to close the 1940 version of Pinocchio.
Joshua Hedley – Neon Blue – Track by Track
The twelve song album lasts 40 minutes.
1. Broke Again
Just a little bit of money’s all I need
I ain’t paid the rent since I signed my lease
I’m working my fingers down to the bone
And I already sold everything I own
No matter what I do lord I can’t seem to win
Here we, here we go, here we go, go again
Buh-buh-buh-buh broke, buh-buh broke, broke again
The opening track is like a wake-up call. Broke Again comes in traditional country music style, but has a nice vibe, a touch of rock’n’roll and just makes you move to its sound from the very first second. Great starter.
2. Country & Western
Scotty Sanders and his steel guitar are the key driving part of the melody of Country & Western. Joshua Hedley states in the chorus that I’m a singing professor of country and western – and underlines that in a sound, which is as country as it can be.
3. Old Heartbroke Blues
While the two opening songs are known single releases already, Old Heartbroke Blues is the first “new” song for Joshua Hedley listeners. The song works with similar elements than the tracks before, but feels more modern. Again, it works with nice steel guitar and fiddle melody lines as well as a laid back rhythm. Cool.
4. The Last Thing In The World
Joshua Hedley is sitting in a honky tonk and just describes the scenery and the stories happening. The result is a beautiful story told in this fourth song. Love it.
If I had a dime for every broken heart that’s been in here
I could buy this bar and everyone a round of beers
Cause there’s enough fools like me playing A-11 and Sweet Dreams
And that’s the last thing in the world this honky tonk needs
5. Down To My Last Lie
Three chords and the truth – Down To My Last Lie is illustrating this mantra of country music perfectly. The music is rather a bored background something than a melodic explosion, but it does just what is needed to focus on the story. Joshua Hedley does that great.
6. Free (One Heart)
Free (One Heart) is a lovely love song, which is magically touching my heart when listening. One of the highlights of the album.
Cause it’s free for one true lover
Take heed it’s a fixer upper
Been used and abused
But it’s ready for a brand new start
It’s free, one heart
7. Neon Blue
The title track is rather fast, rhythmic and again uses rock’n’roll elements. A country song made to have a party with – Neon Blue is also an excellent choice for rather contemporary country music lovers.
8. Bury Me With My Boots On
The title of the eighth song already sends out the clear message. The song is more powerful, rocking than most songs on Neon Blue.. Nice.
9. Found In A Bar
The album references to 1990’s country music. Some tracks feel rather like having being recorded one or decades before. while Found In A Bar is one of the rather modern songs. Hedley declines that love can’t be found in a bar – and uses his own love story as a reference. Good listen.
10. Let’s Make A Memory
Let’s Make A Memory is a lovely, very slow country music ballad – and the longest track of the album. One of the emotional highlights of the album, for sure.
11. Wonder If You Wonder
After that slow, emotional track, it is time to have fun. The quick Wonder If You Wonder is the best track to have a dance with on the whole album. Nice groove and uplifting piano melodies.
12. River In The Rain
The closing River In The Rain has already been published as a single. A beautiful, slow track and another emotional peak in this trip through twelve stories. some warmth in your heart at the end of the album.
Joshua Hedley – Neon Blue – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Joshua Hedley – Neon Blue – My View
Neon Blue is a beauty. Joshua Hedley creates a nostalgic country music sound, which is still working well some decades later. There is a nice concentration on the melodic lines, but especially a precise storytelling. I absolutely enjoyed the listen and thus name it a Top Pick!.
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