There are few people I look forward to talking to more than Josh Ward. The art of conversation is all but lost today. Everyone is rushed, everyone is constantly checking their phones, and rarely does it seem like both people are actually interested in what the other one has to say. But anytime I see Josh, or we chat on the phone, by the time we get done talking, I always think to myself “this is the way people used to talk to each other”. You don’t just get in and get out. You warm up, you ask each other things that keep the conversation going, you mix the personal in with the business, and you let the conversation lead the questions; not the other way around. You lose track of time and don’t care that you do. The honest, down-home genuineness that I always find in my conversations with Ward, used to be a mainstay of country music and a big reason many of us fell in love with the genre, yet it’s becoming increasingly harder to find in the “mainstream”. Guys like Josh Ward however, are keeping it alive and thriving, in person and in song, with real country music. It’s no wonder that his authentic approach has made him not only a force in the Texas/Red Dirt scene, but well beyond.
Ward is gearing up to drop his 4th full length album, “More Than I Deserve”, on May 4th, and comes in to the release with 9 straight #1 singles, 2 million views on YouTube, and over 3 million streams globally on Spotify. Needless to say, there are a lot of fans eager for the new project.
Recorded at Rosewood Studios, and produced by Greg Hunt, the 11 track project features guys like John Carroll (Cory Morrow) on guitar, Nate Coon (Aaron Watson) on drums, Milo Deering (The Eagles) on acoustic guitar, steel, dobro, fiddle, viola and mandolin, and Terry McBride (McBride and The Ride) on backing vocals.
The solid, neo-traditional sound that we fell in love with on previous albums is very much there, however you can also feel a little more season on this one. “This record has a little bit of everything and I think it’s going to show a lot more of me”, Ward told us. “It’s got everything from honky-tonk to tear-in-my-beer stuff. It’s a little deeper and has a little more edge.”
The record kicks off with current single, “All About Lovin’” and immediately gets your boots stompin’ with an infectious energy perfect for twirls across sawdust. The 2nd track keeps the sentiment going with the breezy and romantic “Ain’t it Baby”.
The 3rd track, “Say Hello to Goodbye” slows down the tempo and cranks up the brutal reality of recent heartbreak. I often judge a record by how good the saddest song is, and this one is an absolute gut punch.
Ward picks up the honky-tonk in the fun, toe-tapper “Home Away from Home”, then dives back in the raw emotions of heartbreak with “The Devil Don’t Scare Me”. The powerful, spirituality-infused imagery drives each lyric into the soul of the listener and has you coming back for more once the last note hits.
The 6th track “A Cowboy Can” is one of the staples of the album. Between the strong, illustrative writing, twang of the music, and solid message of what a true “cowboy” actually is, it’s purely and simply a damn good country song.
“Another Heartbreak” is a jukebox melody of good times and keeping late-night encounters casual. “God Made a Woman” plays like a soft southern rock song, about finding divine perfection in the woman in your life and “Loving Right” sets the stage for two-stepping in the arms of your loved one.
The 10th track, “One More Shot of Whiskey” is our *PICK* of the album. Ward sets the tone and takes the listener right in to the track with the opening lines, “I’ve been hanging with the devil, I’ve been right down on his level, and I drank his wine, night after night”. The song then details the battle between the powerful memory of a past loved one and the power of alcohol to suppress it. The passion in the delivery, the drive of the rhythm, the punch of the chorus, the power in the vocals, and the vulnerability in the outro put this song on another level. This one grabs you right out of the gate and doesn’t let you go.
The album ends with title track “More than I Deserved”. With a heavy dosage of somber steel, and piercing lyrics like “she was right there beside me, right through it all, she was stronger than the whiskey, that built up this wall” the song takes the listener in to something many of us are all too familiar with: losing someone who we didn’t even deserve in the first place.
The record takes you through ups and downs, honky-tonks and heartaches, love, life and loss. It’s a true country album from start to finish and we definitely recommend you get your hands on it when it drops May 4th! In the meantime, enjoy an early listen to our *PICK* of the album, “One More Shot of Whiskey”, below!
You can hear the new single, “All About Lovin”, as well as, other great Texas Country, Red Dirt, and Americana here on our TMP Spotify Playlist.
Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I’am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.