ALBUM REVIEW: Josh Abbott Band – ‘The Highway Kind’

LifeInASong_UK

Josh Abbott Band are one of the most high-profile bands on the Texas country scene, with five successful albums and several top-100 singles. You may know them from their 2016 single ‘Wasn’t That Drunk’, featuring Carly Pearce, which was a hit on both radio and streaming platforms.

The band, fronted by Josh Abbott, are back with their sixth studio album – ‘The Highway Kind’. This collection of ten songs explores gratitude, love and belonging in a highly up-beat setting. Produced by Marshall Altman, it features some awesome instrumentation and has some of the best-sounding production of the year.

Title track ‘The Highway Kind’ kick-starts this record. The song is heavily 70s-inspired and draws on the traditional Americana sounds, creating something that feels very nostalgic. The song is about letting loose and being free, a major theme for the the record as a whole.  

This is followed by ‘Real Damn Good’, a song with imaginative lyrics about a free-natured country girl. It showcases Abbott’s traditional country vocals, and further explores this care-free theme:

“She’s a little bit out there, whole lotta don’t care, gonna do what she wants
Living her life one night at a time, more hippie than debutante”

Without a doubt, this is the most uplifting and positive album that Josh Abbott Band have released. ‘One More Two Step’ is an infectiously catchy dance tune that feels straight out of a modern honky-tonk. Heavy use of pianos, guitars and banjos give it a big country party feel.

’24-7-365’ is the most rock-influenced song on the record. Some in-your-face guitar elevates this anthem that’s about celebrating non-stop. This is a song that makes you want to get up and dance, and will be a great addition to your Friday night playlist.

On the few moments this album does slow down, the focus is still on the joy in life. ‘Women & Wishes’ is about being thankful for a new love, and hoping that you can hold onto it. Written by Abbott, Jim McCormick and Marshall Altman, the lyrics are very vivid and explore some imagery of this emerging romance:

“She dreams of Paris in the springtime
She sees us dancing in the rain
Says she always gonna be mine
I just need a little faith”

The album also features a duet with singer Catie Offerman. On ‘The Luckiest’, we hear some divine harmonies between the two singers, paired with some great pedal steel guitar. The song explores being content in your life, something simplistic but so relatable. Both singers have unique voices that help this retro-influenced ballad to stand out.

The absolute highlight of this album, though, is the closer, ‘Old Men & The Rain’. This soft-touched song, written by Abbott and Jeff Hyde, has some truly heart-felt lyrics:

“From droughts to wars, they’ve for sure
Seen their share of pain
And that’s why old men sit around
And talk about the rain”

These lyrics are so intricately written, and tell a lovely story that helps to finish off the record on a great high.

Overall, this album is a positive and up-lifting release that is likely to bring a smile to your face, even as we take on the dark and dreary Winter months. The stand-out here is certainly ‘Old Men & The Rain’, but the whole album is well worth your time.

Lauren Wyatt

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