Joshua Britt – Starting Over in a Storm
Joshua Britt describes his latest album ‘Starting Over in a Storm’ in his own words:
This album was written in a hotel room in Shanghai, China. From a personally dark and confusing moment in my life, these songs emerged. They were my way of figuring out what I wanted my life to become.
Listening carefully, bit by bit, song by song, what unfurls is a process of self-examination, reflection, introspection, and complex self-analysis. This is therapy, in musical form.
As an artist, Britt is stepping back and taking stock. It could almost be an existential crisis; What made me the way I am? Why I am the way I am? In being different am I just the ‘same? Big questions that Britt is aiming to explain, through words and music. There is indeed at times, a sense of personal crisis, yet it unfurls with beautiful melodies especially on mandolin and Britt’s soft, clear voice.
‘A Hurried Life’ sets the scene. The hectic, incessant turmoil of the artist’s life on the road, yet a sense of unworthiness. “I’m nothing like my father before me” However, Joshua Britt is a multi-talented guy; a film-maker, animator, photographer, musician of some critical acclaim, a key member of The Orphan Brigade (with Ben Glover and Neilson Hubbard), which supports my view that it is the most talented and gifted who are the most self-critical and prone to personal crises.
‘Through the Windshield’ is one of those songs that makes you sit up and listen. He went through the windshield of his mother’s Mazda in 1987. That near-death experience and other traumatic life episodes are examined in song. Why did the artist feel no fear in the face of death, yet is afraid to sleep in the dark? This one is special.
‘Quincy’s Song’ takes that concept of being different, awkward and not quite fitting in and examines why that’s something to be celebrated not feared. ‘Summer Heat’s On’ changes the tempo somewhat. Set in that aforementioned Shanghai hotel room, it gets across some sort of discordance.
‘Greatest Day of All’ is about hope, survival, and seeing the beauty in turmoil. ‘A Man Who Lost His Name’ follows on. As an artist, he’s questioning the core of self in a society obsessed with mobile phones and information overload. Hence, the title of the next song ‘Shikata Ga Nai’ (which translates as It Can’t Be Helped) a Japanese phrase and cultural concept regarding the nature of things. It is what it is.
‘Don’t Remove the Tags’ is a meditation on impermanence, and on materialism. ‘Torn Apart By Love’, ‘Love’s A Fire’, ‘One Heartbeat Away’, are all good songs. The record finishes up with the fabulous ‘Force of Nature’. Sometimes our fate is out of our hands and we just have to wait for our story to unfold. A fine finale to a great collection.
Produced and engineered by Neilson Hubbard, recorded at Mr. Lemons in Nashville, and featuring Brian Lee, Natalie Schlabs, Dean Marold, Danny Mitchell, and Christian Sedelmeyer, ‘Starting Over in a Storm’ is out now. Available from joshuabritt.com or to stream or download on online music services.