Josh T Pearson
Jesus! Look at that, it’s Josh T Pearson on tour.
The country boy with preaching in the blood and the devil in him is back after almost a decade in the wilderness. Ten years ago, it was as part of the group Lift to Experience that Josh T Pearson entertained the crowds. The critically-acclaimed LTE Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads double album of 2001 cemented cult status and peer respect but a band break-up soon followed. Meandering through Europe’s low-rent venues, playing albums’ worth of never officially released material, this talented vagabond touted his wares. In the last 10 years, Pearson has had just one proper release. The aptly chosen Hank Williams cover ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ is perhaps a gauge of how the musician felt in those years. This 2006 single creates haunted ethereal sounds complemented by minimal guitar and echoed vocals. Today the man seems to have undergone a resurrection, stronger in his sadness and more honest in his tales.
Last of the Country Gentleman was released by Mute on March 14th and is a sure-fire contender for one of the top records of the year. This hushed sermon plays like a Cormac McCarthy novel in which all the characters are forced to live a scarred and torn existence. ‘Country Dumb’, the first single, heralds the country bard’s return. A Pentecostal hymn wed in holy matrimony to a broken-down country singer creates an air of serious artistry. The fragile beauty that is conjured is balanced with the slow-building fire of honesty. ‘Sweetheart I Ain’t Your Christ’ is another highlight and, true to form, an ode to personal angels and demons.
It ain’t all doom and gloom though. Live, Pearson wields a dry and self-deprecating humour that endears him to audiences by reinforcing the truly sincere feeling you get from watching him perform. This quick wit and solemn balladry makes a visit to see Josh T Pearson most rewarding. It is holy country blues executed by a Texan who looks as though he was on the committee that approved the opening of the Wild Wild West.
Josh T. Pearson, April 28th, Sidecar