Josh Smith: Over Your Head Review

Over two decades after releasing his debut album Born Under a Blue Sign at age 14, Josh Smith is back with his eighth studio album Over Your Head. Currently based in LA, Smith got his start as a lead guitarist for the Rhino Cats, a house band at Club M in Hollywood, FL. Back then, Smith was called a guitar prodigy for his quick grasp of the deep grooves and solo style popular in modern blues. In the years since, Smith has toured around the country and played with some of today’s big names in blues, including Ricky Fante and Raphael Saadiq.

The 12-track Over Your Head is an escape into the wailing riffs that draw fans to blues festivals around the world. Smith’s album is ideal for those looking to lose themselves in the genre, swaying from side to side as the guitar takes center stage. Smith’s guitar does most of the talking throughout the album: it is the star of the show, vitally supported by a supporting cast of instruments but always first in line to hold the songs together and keep the album on track. Even Smith’s singing is not as vocally present as his guitar, with “…And What,” “Intro to Smoke and Mirrors,” and “How Long (Reprise)” completely devoid of vocal accompaniment and a handful of others lyrically sparse. Though not necessarily stronger because of their instrumental nature, these tracks demonstrate the skills Smith has been honing since his youth. It’s as if he knows that, sometimes, the best thing to do as an artist is to let your music speak for itself.

Over Your Head began as a Kickstarter campaign last summer. Once Smith earned funding for his project, he headed into the studio and invited three notable bluesmen to join him. Joe Bonamassa, Kirk Fletcher, and Charlie Musselwhite lend their talents to one song each. On the title track, Bonamassa and Smith trade licks as Smith sings of a love unable to understand the depths of his emotions. “…And What” depicts Fletcher dropping by to jam with Smith, no lyrics required. Musselwhite brings his legendary harmonica into the studio for the riff-driven “You’ll Find Love” as Smith adds accents with his guitar and voice.

Whether he’s playing lead or welcoming guest musicians, Smith performs like the professional he is: riffs are skillfully built, rhythms keep songs in check, and every musical element has a purpose. In a note to fans on his Kickstarter page, Smith proclaimed an interest in creating an improvisational record, and in this he succeeds. Currently available on iTunes, Over Your Head was released last month in Europe and is expected to come to the U.S. in June.

The Review: 7/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Over Your Head
– And What
– Smoke and Mirrors
– You’ll Find Love

The Big Hit

– Over Your Head

Review by Meghan Roos

Buy the album: Amazon

One thought on “Josh Smith: Over Your Head Review

  • I go crazy.7.0 of 10 for such a heavy statemantin Music?Where do You have ears??


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