Self-Titled by Josiah Gentry (Self-released CD)
At 16 years of age, Josiah Gentry has released his second disc of tunes that is guaranteed to bring this young talent a good deal of notice outside of his hometown of Grand Rapids, MI. Even though fans of Dashboard Confessional and Owl City are sure to discover a brand new favorite artist here, there is no denying just how much of an original Josiah Gentry really us. Exuding both a strong sense of sincerity mixed with an endearing quirkiness, Gentry possesses a winning combination to be sure.
The disc opens with the wistful refrains of GI Rockstars, a fond tribute Gentry delivers to the people of his Grand Rapids hometown. Like Summer shows an unpredictable side to Gentry’s songwriting, featuring Owl City-like electronics and then segueing into a sweet love song for someone very special in his life.
The Other Side is a short trip-hop blast, showing the sheer diversity of Gentry’s music. Don’t Break My Heart is absolutely poignant, and should really touch the heartstrings of even the most world weary of music aficionados. The Old Version Of Me is sentimental and melancholic, with subtle violins and a beautiful co-vocal by Erika Lopez that sends the material soaring.
Concept is ominous and haunting, yet ultimately inspiring. Oh My Beating Heart is a bit on the Never Shout Never / Bright Eyes side – a superb song that will be spinning in your head with a relentless fervor. And then there’s the deeply personal Family, a prayer with a sense of urgency that has a tremendously moving back-story to it.
I’m Losing My Mind from Gentry’s debut album You Lips Say It All has returned with a sweet vengeance. Expanded upon with a trip-hop soundtrack and cynical yet witty Elliott Smith-like lyrics such as “Listen to my words, you’re really quite cute, but you’re the kind of a girl, a killer might shoot for fun,” – the song is a killer standout track that is wildly infectious beyond belief.
Rambunctious is an introspective track that shows the artist wise well beyond in years when it comes to perils in a relationship. Guys Like Me Aren’t Allowed To Write Songs Like These also returns from Your Lips Say It All, re-record with a strong sense of passion as well as a stunning guest vocal appearance by Charla Bultman that interweaves brilliantly with the material.
13 tracks plus a hidden bonus in all, Josiah Gentry’s self-titled CD is as welcomed as a gentle breeze in the dead heat of summer. The kind of recording that signals “breakthrough” and gains notice from musical fans and record labels alike, it will be exciting to see what the rest of the year has in store for Josiah Gentry. A remarkably talented individual whose folk inspired pop is absolutely timeless.
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
Josiah Gentry on Myspace
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