As with any field, there are generations that enjoy their time at the top of the pack, guiding the way for the new talent. In Texas, we have slowly seen the shift to those we were calling up-and-comers just a few years ago. Paying their dues, packing the smaller venues and gathering new fans everywhere they went. From 10-15 passenger van and cargo trailer to big money 45’ Prevost Coach Buses hauling tandem axle merch trailers. In true overnight success fashion, some 10 plus years later they find themselves as the top dogs of Texas Country music. Arguably one of the largest names in all of Texas music is currently Josh Abbott Band and Until My Voice Goes Out is only going to propel them further to new heights.
To begin to understand the concept of Until My Voice Goes Out, we must first look at the events that have occurred in Josh Abbott’s life in 2017. Josh, like any caring soul, loves is father and had to witness him suffer a stroke and fight for his life. During this time, Josh Abbott left the hospital and recorded his vocals for the new album in a single overnight session. His goal was simple: create a real album true to form and have his father hear the title track. His father, Charles David Abbott was able to hear Until My Voice Goes Out but sadly passed away days later. This understandably resulted in canceled shows as the Abbott family took time to grieve and focus on their family.
Leading up to the release of the album, listeners were exposed to the latest sound of the band. Bright horns and strings were making an appearance for a first time and met with praise. It’s a risk when you think about it because many bands would begin to steer the ship towards the mainstream side of things. Josh and the boys did not, and decided to work with renowned composer and producer Rob Mathes. Incorporating heavy string and brass into Until My Voice Goes Out separates the JAB from many of their peers and shows a sense of maturity. Music is a form of art and it’s necessary to be different as well as innovative to prosper.
There are many familiar spices present on this latest record that long-time JAB fans will feel right at home hearing. The warm plucking of the banjo is still alive and well adding that special Texas country flair. Unlike mainstream artists that use a single line of banjo to offer, ummm credibility?, these guys have it throughout to many listener’s enjoyment. Josh’s vocals sound as good as ever and many of these songs are reminiscent of their earlier albums that first got me hooked.
Despite the painful death of Abbott’s father, the album has an overall positive vibe with moments of reflection and affection. Songs like Texas Women, Tennessee Whiskey, The Night is Ours and Kinda Missing You embrace the bright horns - creating a fun and exciting atmosphere. These tracks provide a uniqueness that gives the album a special feel. It all works together but is just different enough to keep you on your feet and entertained. Heartbeat and a Melody certainly has that classic JAB sound that many will feel at home with.
The title track, Until My Voice Goes Out not only represents Josh’s overnight session recording his vocals, but also hope and finding love. Experiencing life with someone by your side and taking chances to actually LIVE. The death of a loved one is sobering because it makes us realize how fragile life is. Tomorrow is always the answer, but what if tomorrow never comes? Would you be happy with what you’ve accomplished? It doesn’t mean you need to go sky-diving like Tim McGraw said, but it’s important to put your best foot forth and experience things to enrich our lives. Especially with those that mean the most to us.
You will notice two preludes and an epilogue in this album that represent life, hope and remembering Josh’s father. All three are string based and are beautifully arranged resulting in a peacefulness that you have to hear to appreciate. I found these to be an excellent touch and further personalizes Until My Voice Goes Out. It is thoughtful touches like this that make an album special and different from the rest.
So here we are, five full albums now released from the Josh Abbott Band. I’ve been along for the ride since She’s Like Texas and have enjoyed each work they have put together for us listeners. With deeply personal experiences these past few years, Josh and his band have continued to put together strong tracks and albums that have contributed to their steady growth. Until My Voice Goes Out is not just filled with new sounds and ranges of emotions; it’s their best album yet.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
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