Josh T Pearson’s brand of tortured melancholy hasn’t really left our musical consciousness in the years since his short reign as the driving force behind Lift to Experience.
“I think I’m close to doing something good, genuine, and earnest,” Pearson said back in 2007, “but I don’t want to release something unless I’m completely happy with it. I honestly believe with Lift To Experience I created one of the best albums of the last ten years, and I don’t want to create something that is lesser to that.”
And so ten years on from The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, we get Pearson’s debut solo, The Last of the Country Gentleman. The fruits of a decade of songwriting labour, the album is swathed in a fug of emotional purgatory. It’s strewn across every note, every tumbling guitar lick, every heart-breaking couplet.
Our writer Alex Wisguard called it “one of the greatest and most compelling albums to emerge from this decade so far” and it’s certainly the equal of Pearson’s past recorded output.
While it’s not uncommon that a session for The Line of Best Fit leaves all concerned feeling slightly emotional – such is the intimate and personal nature of these experiences – it’s rare that we go through such a catharsis as during our time with Josh T Pearson.
He is a charming, funny, intense and incredibly talented Southern gent – seemingly with both a glint and a tear in his eye at all times.
As he performed ‘Woman When I Raised Hell’, it became clear that the lyrical content wasn’t just being recited but method-acted, even re-lived. Whether there’s autobiography in those words is up for discussion but the thunder Pearson brings to performance is frighteningly real – as impressive as it is disturbing.