Troubadour Josh Morningstar has returned to the release landscape once again in 2018, this time with a brand new EP titled “The Plea”. Josh has already had an outstanding year with a new management group taking interest ins career, a successful tour of shows with brother Billy Don Burns, maintaining his own heavy touring schedule, and having a song but by Cody Jinks as a part of his “Lifers” album.
The EP opens with the driving, straightforward beat of “Jerry Lee”, Josh’s ode to the iconic Jerry Lee Lewis. In his homage to “The Killer” Josh covers much of the legendary lore that has surrounded Jerry Lee for years, all in a very unabashed way, which is the perfect nod of respect to Jerry. “Jerry Lee, Jerry Lee, hillbilly insanity, tickling teens and ivory, praise the lord Elvis died” sings Morningstar in the chorus, evoking the wild side of Jerry Lee Lewis that we’ve heard so much about through the years. And edgy tribute to an edgy legend.
Up next is the Morningstar penned “Must Be The Whiskey”, also recorded this year by Cody Jinks. The song fades in on a simple banjo and fiddle sound before Morningstar’s smooth vocals wash in, delivering the lyrics with Josh’s unique style. It’s a stripped down and and string-driven version of the song, full of finesse and soul, and contrasts very nicely from what those who are used to hearing the song have come to know.
Title track “The Plea” is a song Josh has been playing on his live shows for some time now. This version however is a little different from what you might expect if you’ve heard the song live, and not in a bad way. Speaking of Josh as a songwriter last year I said “Imagine someone taking their heart out of their chest, laying it on the table in front of you, splitting it open, and then giving you a guided tour of it’s insides, showing you the good and the bad, the hopes and the fears, everything.” Josh once again delivers that experience in “The Plea”. This is Josh giving us a guided tour of his heart and soul, his mind, his fears, his struggles. It’s not a stripped down track musically like say “Melody” was, but that doesn’t separate any of the should from the track. Yet another excellent entry to Josh Morningstar’s well of songs.
“Wishing Well”, a track with a laid back beat and hearty sound, is a look at the world through Josh’s eyes. The emotions he experiences, but also some of the things he finds himself seeing out there on the road. The barroom preachers who know what’s best for everyone other than himself, unsatisfied promoters he hopes to show up someday… He keeps makes sure to keep it all in perspective, though, looking at how he himself relates to all of it. The music on the track will keep you grooving to it’s beat, but the lyrics make sure to provoke your thoughts and emotions as you listen.
Josh returns a track from 2017’s “Whole Lotta Crazy” in “Damn These Birds”. This version picks up the tempo Vs. it predecessor, and provides a fuller sound behind a full band. The song details the struggle with substance, and Josh uses his voice to drive home emotions at time during it, singing with senses of anger and despair during the track. It’s a great evolution for a track that was already very well liked by those who heard and understood it.
The simple life is at the center of the song “Pulling Weeds”, in which Josh tells us about a simple farmer who manages to keep his whole world in perspective. “Hard times have come to visit, ain’t for the faint of heart now is it? If there’s bad the good comes with it, life’s a garden I just dig it.” It’s a song written with imagery that speaks to a bigger meaning. It’s a song that contains what could be a mantra for life, but not just for farmers. It’s a wonderful song where the listener can pull their own meaning from the lyrics and apply it’s message to their own lives. It’s a different kind of song than we’re used to from Josh, but it’s seamless in it’s delivery, and it’s an excellent track musically.
“Sellout” is a rocking upbeat look at how things aren’t always what they seem, telling the story of someone who has found success in Nashville, yet still has to hustle in other ways to keep alive. It’s a unique look at what how success isn’t always as successful as it seems. “I’m proof that what you’re looking at ain’t always what you see, last night I played the Opry but tonight I’m seeing weed.” It’s an ode to the struggle, how things can change in an instant, but never actually change at all in music city. The track features some candid lyrics about Nashville and the way things are, and uses an underlying tone of defiance to drive those tidbits home.
“The Plea” is, in my opinion, Josh’s best release yet. The songwriting is fantastic (Of course Josh has never missed that mark) but what really sets this one apart is the music that goes with it. The music on these tracks is incredible. It’s Josh with a full band sound like we’ve never heard before, and it accompanies him well. The band hits all their marks and ties all of these songs together with precision excellence.
Don’t miss the opportunity to land this EP for yourself! You won’t be sorry.
Visit www.joshmorningstar.com or go catch Josh on the road now to order your copy of “The Plea” now!