This album is one of my most eagerly anticipated releases. I’ve been listening to Josh Turner and Carson McKee for what seems like about two years. These young men are extremely talented. Josh Turner’s YouTube page, formerly named after his Martin guitar, is one of my favorite “follows” not only because of his formal work with The Other Favorites, but also for his off-the-cuff adventurous recordings. Some of the work he dismisses as just “good fun” is in fact better than some major recording artists. These two gents are a true talent.
When the talented guitarist and anything-with-strings musician Josh Turner spends time with his friend Carson McKee, a brilliant vocalist in his own right, music magic seems to emerge. The two have seemingly different writing styles, but when they collaborate as The Other Favorites there’s a flavor all its own.
The opening song is okay, but the beginning of the second song, “Run” is immediately gripping. It’s got an impressive finger picking guitar that sets the mood for an introspective rock song. “I’ve always been with you but now it’s time to go.” The powerful bass drum serves to create a clear break in the song, which, whether intentional or not does a good job to delineate the jarring nature of the lyrical message of break up. It’s well put together and seemingly beyond the years of the song’s producers.
“Tin Hat Swing” immediately shows off Turner’s guitar chops. Then, as the song transitions, listeners are reminded of what a good time it can be to listen to acoustic music. I can’t put my finger on what “era” this song sounds like, but it’s a delightful one. It’s got a bit of the old world, almost Gypsy charm, combined with a 40s era jazz feel. The driving bass line combined with the killer guitar solos make for a good time song. Seriously this is one for folks of any age to love.
The following song “Lose Your Mind” has a softer, romantic notion to it. McKee’s vocals sound like a softer version of John Mayer here. The chording for the song sound like an early Mayer song, too. “Tonight so you don’t lose your mind I’ll just say it’s alright.” What a great and easy-to-connect-with lyric. It’s a quintessential relationship song that many, many listeners will be able to relate to. It’s about… gasp… loving someone else. How scandalous. It really should be picked up by a sitcom or movie for the soundtrack. (Yes, I’m serious.)
After the first few songs it feels rather hard to believe that these talented rock/pop musicians could also pull off a bluegrass traditional, but they do in “Old Homeplace.” Turner leads the vocals and banjo. The harmonies are great. It seems almost impossible that this could be the same two gents that crushed a jazz and pop rock song right before this one. Diversity thou art strong. The concluding track “Baby Stand Up” has a vintage 1970s rock feel from the outset. Led by McKee’s vocals and Turner’s harmonizing (probably the best combination).
The album, start to finish, is a joy. I think overall it shows a couple of musicians still finding their own style and voice. That’s not to be “knock.” They would probably concur with that. From covers of classical music, to rearrange classic music, these two post some incredible music on YouTube. This album is a great step in the right direction. We encourage our readers to purchase this album on iTunes and support these young men. We’re hoping the next album will be a double LP, with one full album sporting the classic bluegrass/roots country sound and the other having more of the oldies rock sound. But… that’s just a thought. Keep doing what you do gentlemen.