As a sixteen-year-old, Joe Edwards gave up waiting tables to play covers gigs in local bars before going on to study music at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Upon graduation - his degree was presented to him by Paul McCartney - he began a musical journey that's seen him influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, James Taylor, and Paul Simon. 'Keep on Running' documents that journey so far and it's off to a good start.
Slide-guitar washes over the gentle country sounds of opening track ‘Beth’, a song that sees Edwards pay tribute to the love and support provided by his wife. Underpinned by moody Hammond organ and raw guitars, the blues abound on the rhythmic ‘Trouble’, and ‘Cross the Line’ while ‘Capital Blues’ is a shuffle-based acoustic blues song about working poverty.
The tongue in cheek ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down’ gently sticks two fingers up at life’s turmoils from the perspective of the underdog and the liberating ‘Keep on Running’ is a forward-looking uptempo blast of positivity.
Recorded in just ten days in Nashville with producer Steve Dawson at the helm, Edwards recruited some of the best players around for the sessions. Jeremy Holmes on double bass and Chris Gestrin on keyboards were joined by Edwards’ brother Alex on drums. Further adding to his producing role, Steve Dawson added a variety of string instruments from pedal steel to dobro. The resulting mix perfectly blends Americana, blues, and folk in a live in the studio sound to provide a vehicle for Edwards’ laid back, reassured vocal delivery.
Highlighting Edwards’ songwriting skills, the fictitious vivid characters and situations in ‘The Gambler’ are brought to life in this mournful folk tale of regret and hurt caused by addition.
As debut albums go, ‘Keep On Running’ is an impressive body of work. First-class musicianship combined with well-written songs combines to make this a highly enjoyable listen.