When Josh Thompson first hit it big, a lot of people predicted big things for him. His first few hits "Beer On The Table" and "Way Out Here" made waves on the charts. His follow up album, Change", never saw the light of day, as an under-performing though critically acclaimed lead-single "Comin' Around" and label unrest left him without a record deal. Now that he is under an independent label, Ole Digital, he is finally getting that album out to the public in the form of two EPs.
The first EP features Josh doing exactly what he does best: rowdy, good time music that is set in honky-tonk melodies. Josh would have been a huge star in the mid-90's, as his sound fits right in with the big hits in that era. "Same Ol' Plain Ol' Me" might have similar laundry-list countryism lyrics as hundreds of other songs, but Josh's fun delivery and twangy accompaniment make this sound fresh and new. "Work In The Mornin'" follows the same mold as a honky-tonk sing-a-along that will get your dancing shoes working. "Living Like Hank" is a duet with Justin Moore that is probably the weakest point of the EP. However, just when I was getting done rolling my eyes that these two guys are anything like Hank Williams, he throws a disclaimer in at the end to tell us he is well aware they are nothing like Hank Williams. It sounds silly, but that made the song ten times better in my book. It isn't song of the year material, but it isn't as bad as the slop on the radio.
There are a few songs on the album that really stand out. The title track "Change" is a great ode to the way that people change over time and forget who they used to be. It is a nice, simple song that makes you think about what country music used to sound like. "Over Me" is an upbeat song with a heartbreaking message. The clever play on words throughout the song show off great songwriting. "Over Me" has the potential to be a big hit if he can get his independent stuff out there on the radio. However, the best song, one of the best songs from anyone this year I may add, is "Gotta Go To Heaven". This ballad is a mix between barroom country and gospel about a man who is trying to find redemption. He has wasted his life in a bottle after losing his love, but he knows he must change so he can get to heaven to see her again. It is moving and heartfelt. The focus on "a little more King James and no Jim Beam" fits right in-line with the theme of this album. This is a classic song and probably the best vocal performance Josh has ever delivered.
This album represents a lot of change. From "Over Me" to "Change" to "Gotta Go To Heaven", a lot of things are changing, but Josh Thompson is still the "Same Ol' Plain Ol' Me". This EP proves this much is true. While there are more mature elements of this album than some of Josh's previous work, he still is sticking to his roots. This is a positive change and the way music should evolve. Change: The Lost Record Volume 1 is a great mix of songs that any country fan should love. I can't wait for Volume 2!
Standout Tracks: "Over Me", "Gotta Go To Heaven", "Same Ol', Plain Ol' Me"
"Same Ol' Plain Ol' Me"