Magnolia Recording Company (label)
22 October 2012 (released)
11 September 2012
Heralding from North Dakota, Josh Harty is a singer who is the personification of Americana. He grew up in a small town, where his dad was both a local preacher and the police chief. As he puts it, “I was either going to jail, or to hell”. This kind of humour and observation has apparently made his intimate acoustic shows an impressive occasion, causing a bar or venue to go silent in awe.
That kind of magic is always difficult to recapture on record of course, but the seven tracks on Nowhere go someway to achieving that. With a gentle American drawl and just the right sprinkling of angst, Harty has a warm and welcoming vocal – and when it is backed by the gorgeous tones of a fiddle and guitar, as on Sweet Solution and Whiskey and Morphine, the combination is delightful.
6th Avenue displays his delicate guitar playing alongside his ability for imagery; “the churches ring their bells and the trains rumble by”, while On My Mind’s nostalgic feel is the most immediate song here. There is also a live cover of Richard Thompson's 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. Harty arrives in the UK this autumn for more than a dozen shows and it will be interesting to see how these tracks translate. Do not expect a party atmosphere though, with these happy folksy tales of suicide and drug addiction.