REVIEW: Josh Kelley – Live At The Borderline, London

File_000 (3)Josh Kelley’s newest album ‘New Lane Road’ turned our heads towards an artist that we had never really picked up on before. The incredible fusion of country and soul was a match made in heaven for us, and it has become our most played album of 2016. Stunning from start to finish. Soon after the album was released, we were delighted to see the announcement of two UK shows in Glasgow and London; this was one we just couldn’t miss.

Nothing could have prepared us, however, for the entertainment Josh provided. The show was almost half-country, half-comedy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an artist seem so comfortable on stage; he told us in an interview after the show that “I want to make people feel like they’re in my living room” and this is exactly what he did. He told us all the funny stories from his youth that inspired some of the songs, stopped mid-way through tracks and went off on so many tangents, and even treated us to a Prince of Bel Air rap! A hilarious guy with so much charisma….and a stunning voice too.

But let’s begin with the support act, the brilliant Laura Oakes. I’ve seen Laura performing on a number of occasions now, and she just seems to get better and better every time. Earlier in the day, Laura had released ‘Going Somewhere’ on Facebook, a track from her upcoming EP, and this was the song that kicked off her set. Such a groovy, feel-good dance track that sounds awesome live, and Laura’s killer vocals blow me away every time. She also performed a couple of other new songs – the incredibly catchy ‘Lazy’ and ‘Better In Blue Jeans’ which have already become fan favourites. And of course, we were treated to ‘Dreamin’, ‘Snakes and Ladders’, ‘Don’t Let The Door Hit Ya’ and my personal favourite ‘Whatever You Want’, which I honestly believe is the best song released by a UK country artist. A brilliant show as expected, and we can’t wait for the EP!

Josh came on stage just after 9pm, starting with ‘One Foot In The Grave’ from the latest album. It soon became clear that there wasn’t really a set list, and it became a fan-request session. I think Josh was rather taken aback by the audience’s knowledge of his music, saying “Wow! You guys actually know that song?” after requests of ‘Home To Me’, ‘Almost Honest’ and ‘Masterpiece’. You truly get a glimpse of how musically talented an artist is when they can play 10-year-old album tracks that, in some cases, were written on piano. Josh made it look like they were regular features in his shows.

His performances of ‘Naleigh Moon’ and ‘Cowboy Love Song’ were personal highlights and very emotional moments in the show. Josh talked about his love for his two adopted daughters, Naleigh and Adelaide, and how they had inspired the two songs. You could hear a pin drop during both performances; I was mesmerised by the sheer quality and depth of Josh’s voice. Originally I was disappointed that he didn’t have a band behind him, but it actually allowed us all to appreciate Josh’s talent and it was ideal for such an intimate setting.

Much of the new album was performed, including the aforementioned ‘One Foot In The Grave’ as well as the stunning new single ‘It’s Your Move’, ‘The Best Of Me’ (from the movie ‘Act Of Valor’), ‘Cowboy Love Song’, ‘Only God Can Stop Her Now’ and ‘Call It What It Is’ (co-written with his younger brother Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum).

After the show, Josh stayed around for over an hour to sign merchandise and take pictures with fans. A lovely guy to have a chat with, and just as funny off-stage as he is on stage! Be sure to check out our interview with Josh HERE, and if you haven’t already, go and check out the new album ‘New Lane Road’ – you won’t be disappointed. This was one of my favourite shows of the year, fingers crossed it won’t be too long until he returns!