New Album/European Tour Reviews
It was an amazing tour this year. The new album is being well received in Europe. I look forward to releasing it here in the US. Here are some kind reviews of the record and of recent concerts from the tour.
OVER YOUR HEAD REVIEWS (as per: 14 June 2015)
His previous album Don't Give Up On Me saw Californian guitarist, vocalist and songsmith
Josh Smith give free rein mainly to his affinity with soul music, whereas his latest release Over Your Head places more emphasis on the rock component. Not least his friendship with colleague Joe Bonamassa appears to have had an unmistakable effect on the material.
Over Your Head sounds authentic, particularly since Smith’s stylistic diversity is a well-known fact. Guitar aficionados definitely get their money’s worth plus an opportunity to pick up a few tricks from the protagonist and his guests Joe Bonamassa and Kirk Fletcher. (…) One of the recording’s highlights is the instrumental “… And What”, a guitar duet with Kirk Fletcher and homage to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Respect, Mr. Smith!
bluesnews · April 2015 ·
His extremely adventurous and haunting melodic style has earned Smith a position among the greatest blues guitarists of our time. Fearless and raw (…) guitars, bass and drums – Smith needs little more than that to create the most impressive album of his career to date.
(…) In terms of rhythm, his two associates Lemar Carter and Calvin Turner provide the dynamic basis while Smith ventures into uncharted waters with courage and a clearly more distorted guitar. Again and again, the furioso guitarist allows himself to be driven by his drummer into hot improvisational passages – the spirit of rock gods such as Cream and Jimi Hendrix (in the awesome guitar performance as well as in the sensational drums) but also of blues luminaries such as Albert King and Buddy Guy hovering close by.
The trio delivers such an amazing performance that guest appearances by guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Joe Bonamassa and harmonica legend Musselwhite seem pretty much superfluous.
ROCKS · May/June 2015 ·
Blues music never ages and the list of its performers continues to grow longer and longer. Luckily, creative, innovative and technically accomplished guitarists persist in breathing new life into this genre in the 21st century. And listening to Josh Smith should rekindle the interest even of people who have grown a little tired of the blues.
Grand Gtrs · May/June
Over Your Head marks the return to Smith’s trademarks: blues rock which sounds almost as if you were listening to a live album. (... ) And anybody who’s ever experienced Josh Smith live knows how virtuoso yet always true to style his stage performances are.
Eclipsed · June 2015 · Michael Lorant
Josh’s guitar style is so powerful that names such as Robin Trower and Joe Bonamassa come to mind, the latter contributing a guest appearance on the title track. “Over Your Head” with its succinct riff would have suited a Bonamassa album perfectly and cut a fine figure there. Not only because Josh is the better blues vocalist of the two. His powerful voice is just as take-charge as his guitar style, which is aggressive and subtle at the same time.
Eclipsed · May 2015 · Michael Lorant
“Over Your Head” could mark the 35-year-old guitarist’s leap into the premier league.
Jazzthing & blue rhythm · April/May 2015 · Uwe Meyer
Smith impresses all the way on his current album, namely with guitar-heavy blues infused with strong rock influences. A spick and span production, highly riff-oriented trio instrumentation, thoroughly authentic and eager to improvise. All in all: a definite success.
wegotmusic.de · 27 April 2015
· Herbert Heil
Rolling Stone magazine once declared Jimi Hendrix the best rock guitarist of all time. Since his tragic passing 45 years ago, thousands have tried to emulate him. His third recording “Over Your Head” may prove that Josh Smith, born in 1979, is a possible contender. His excursion through the funk rock ether lasts more than 60 minutes. The opening and closing number “How Long”, a phat slow blues track, soon makes his listeners realise the things he can do with his Strat – as his jazzy improvisation on “Still Searching” goes to prove. The title track features a unique guitar duel with his pal Joe Bonamassa, while Kirk Fletcher’s (Fab Thunderbirds) wah-wah guitar impresses on “ … And What”. And last but not least, Charlie Musselwhite, one of the best harp players of our time, pays homage to the Chicago blues on “You'Il Find Love”.
Jazz'n'More · May/June 2015
· Heinz Sollberger
Once again we have a “miracle guitarist” to celebrate. (…) His explosive tours de force on his guitar, garnished with a diabolic voice, are exciting, but his jazzily swinging sounds also come highly recommended. His new album sees Smith raise the bar to extreme heights.
· 31 March 2015
· Dieter Hanisch
As becomes a guitar artist of his league, Josh Smith doesn’t take the same line with Over Your Head as he did on his previous albums, this time devoting himself to the wide and rocky field of blues rock. He delivers his riffs and licks in a phat and powerful style, making do with the traditional standard of a trio and singing with a dynamic, raw voice his self-produced tracks, which need not shy away from comparison with luminaries from the present and past. (…) On his haunting new album Over Your Head, Josh Smith has his guitar take off, delivering a substantial blues rock recording of the first water.
· March 2015
· Frank Ipach
(…) JOSH SMITH, more of a young than a wild representative of his trade, has delivered an outstanding mainstream genre album in Over Your Head. (…) Contemporary blues rock with the expected grassroots loyalty, a classy as well as flashy production, upscale quality in terms of compositions, top-rate musical performances and sales-promoting name dropping without making the whole thing appear unappealing. To cut a long story short: a definite must in this genre.
25 March 2015
· Andreas Schiffmann
Josh Smith is highly professional on stage, at the same time coming across extremely natural. A guitar hero attitude is foreign to his nature. But the music he plays on his guitar is world-class in every respect. And what is more: this guy has his own sound and doesn’t try to emulate other artists – definitely a rare occurrence on today’s blues scene.
His show lasts almost three hours, including a long encore. Supported by a fantastic rhythm section, Josh Smith presents a lot of songs from his new album “Over Your Head” as part of a diverse and entertaining set list. Of course he plays mainly blues songs, but also a little rock, country and funk. All these musical directions are delivered in the same outstanding quality. And yes: Josh can also sing. Just as outstandingly.
gitarren-reviews.de · Dan Mihai Curteanu
A whole lot of emotion
A perfect concert: Josh Smith (...) at the sold-out Neue Welt in Ingolstadt
Together with the accomplished Josh Allen on bass and creative drummer John Yarling, Josh Smith makes an outstanding trio which clearly enjoys playing together, listens to each other and never loses that musical flow.
(...) He’s equally proficient in those quietly cajoling melody lines as he is in brutally shrill power riffs. Smith practically talks through his guitar, his compositions come along agreeably, subtly and always grooving – no matter whether balladesque, rocking or funky. His feel for those six strings is unique and his solos are exceptional – without ever laying it on thickly. (...) This concert is a string of sonic gems which radiantly roll across the stage.
Donaukurier · 25 May 2015 · Sandra-Isabel Knobloch
(…) hier hat er nun seine Band auf ein Power-Trio reduziert und mit diesem ein hart rockendes Album eingespielt.
Das überwältigend rockende „How Long“ eröffnet den Reigen mit Lemar Carters krachendem Drumbeat und Calvin Turners stampfendem Bass, die den Hintergrund zu Smiths aggressiven Vocals und seiner leidenschaftlichen Gitarre liefern.
(…) Es ist immer schwierig, bei der Rezension eines Power-Trios die Erwähnung von Hendrix zu vermeiden und Echos von Jimi sind in dieser Musik nicht zu überhören! (…) dieses Album besteht in erster Linie aus rockigem Blues und ist qualitätvoll genug, um Blues-Freunden und Rock-Fans gleichermaßen zu gefallen.
Blues Matters Magazine #83
Over Your Head besteht aus zwölf Stücken und ist eine Flucht in jene klagenden Riffs, die Fans in aller Welt zu Blues-Festivals locken. Smiths Album ist ideal für Menschen, die sich in diesem Genre verlieren und sich von einer Seite auf die andere wiegen lassen möchten, während die Gitarre stets im Mittelpunkt bleibt. Auf dem Großteil der Platte führt Smiths Gitarre das Wort: Sie ist der Star dieser Show, entscheidend unterstützt von einer Riege instrumentaler Nebendarsteller, aber immer an vorderster Front wenn es darum geht, die Songs zusammen- und das Album in seiner Spur zu halten. Selbst Smiths Gesang ist nicht so präsent wie seine Gitarre, wobei „… And What“, „Intro to Smoke and Mirrors“ und „How Long (Reprise)“ komplett instrumental eingespielt sind und in einigen anderen Nummern die Texte eher spärlich ausfallen. Obwohl nicht unbedingt stärker aufgrund der Tatsache, dass es sich um Instrumentals handelt, unterstreichen diese Stücke die Fertigkeiten, an denen Smith seit seiner Jugend feilt. Es ist als ob er wüsste, dass es manchmal für einen Künstler am besten ist, seine Musik für sich sprechen zu lassen.
bluesrockreview.com · 06.05.2015 · Meghan Roos
Einmal abgesehen von den Gästen ist es Josh, der hier Regie führt mit seinem wunderbar flüssigen Gitarrenstil und in den 12 Songs dieses großartigen Albums, das in einer typisch hochwertigen CrossCut-Verpackung daherkommt, Blues, Funk und Rock verbindet. Wie bereits erwähnt mag Smith – insbesondere in Großbritannien – noch kein Begriff sein, aber Over Your Head sollte man sich auf keinen Fall entgehen lassen!
bluesinthenorthwest.com · 19.06.2015 · Grahame Rhodes
(…) here he has stripped his band back to a power trio and produced a hard rocking disc.
The mightily rocking „How Long“ opens proceedings with Lemar Carter’s crashing drumbeat
and Calvin Turner’s thumping bass backing Smith’s aggressive vocals and fiery lead guitar.
(…) It’s always hard to avoid mentioning Hendrix when reviewing power trio’s and I certainly
hear some echoes of Jimi in this music. Good stuff! (…) this album of mainly rocking blues
which has enough quality to appeal to the blues lovers and the rockers.
Blues Matters Magazine #83
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.
bluesrockreview.com · May 6th, 2015 · Meghan Roos
However, guests aside, it’s Josh Smith in charge here with his wonderful, fluid playing, on tunes that incorporate blues, funk and rock over the 12 tracks on this beautiful sounding album, that comes with customary top CrossCut packaging. As previously stated Smith may not be a household name yet – particularly in the UK – but Over Your Head is definitely worthy of checking out!
bluesinthenorthwest.com · May 19, 2015 · Grahame Rhodes