Josh Nolan “Fair City Lights”
“Fair City Lights” is the debut album from Singer/Songwriter/Multi-Instrumentalist Josh Nolan. However, there is a sense of a man who has paid his dues peddling his musical wares across bars in many small towns. The album certainly comes across as being by a man with a story to tell.
Opening song “Do It Right” sets the tone very early for the album, there’s a huge shadow of Springsteen at his most reflective and melancholic over the track. It has a story telling lyrical style which is repeated on tracks like “When I Was Young”. Songs like these and “Lulbegrund Revival (Golden Age)” will surely have a readymade fan base in those that enjoy the Boss and indeed many of the other acts he has influenced.
There is a perkier sound to “Waiting On The Night” and you can imagine that when played live it could be a full on rock n roller. It contains the lyrics “driving along with my windows down” and it’s certainly perfect for a cruise in the sunshine. A similar sensation is created by “’Till The Words Run Out” which is another up-tempo number. These songs bring a more joyous sound to the album with the additional horns and background vocals which really bring the song to life.
Josh adds an almost soul feel to “Come Mornin’” and it brings some light to what otherwise could be a more standard country number. Whilst songs like “Brave Heart Too” and “East KY Skyline” are the kind of Americana sounding tracks that Ryan Adams has made a fortune from. The whole album comes to a rather solemn end with the slow paced “Between The Lights”. It has the feel of an epic track that takes the listener on a thoughtful journey.
Whilst some artists may not like direct comparisons being made between them and other musicians, it is really hard to not make the link between Nolan and Springsteen. Although, let’s be honest there are far worse artists to be compared to! Also, it’s not made in a “rip off”/ “poor man’s version” way, but just an acknowledgement of an influence in terms of sound and style. The songs have a substance and quality to them which suggests that they will be warmly received and cherishes by many fans. Another lazy comparison is Ryan Adams, there is a sense that the music and lyrics come from the heart and a genuine love for the songs that are being created. It’s a sincere album, but importantly, not po faced, so it still has a wider appeal beyond just any bandwagon jumping Americana hipster i.e. you don’t need a beard and over styled haircut to love it!!