Album Review: Josephine Neumann – My Greatest Fears

The opening track “How” on Josephine Neumann‘s album has an acapella vocal that is sure to capture the attention of any listeners. The second song “Soon Enough” unfolds in a beautiful acoustic guitar with a quality vocal. It’s easy to hear why this album was a “yes” for me; it’s got elements of classic folk music brought into the 21st century with a contemplative seriousness that is perfect for our age.

The intricate acoustic picking on “Bigger Man” made it an immediately interesting track from me. The cathartic guitar work made me melt into the song. It’s ultimately a song about a man with a big ego. There’s a biting commentary about the figure; it’s not sure if it’s about a personal relationship or someone in a larger leadership position, but nevertheless it carries a heavy message.

The guitar work on “Imperfection” has this complexity to it that stands out from so much folk music today. There’s something about the vocal styling on this one that reminds me of an early career Maggie Rogers. The question, “will we ever go past friends?” is the kind of simple yet sincere writing that characterizes Neumann’s writing. This is a subtle, beautiful piece of music.

“Invisible” might be my favorite track on the whole album. There’s a calmness in the tone of the guitar that makes it feel like a lullaby and a folk narrative all at once. The vocal styling on this one is exceptional and the harmonies are set apart from the rest of the album. While it has shades of Joni Mitchell or even Alison Krauss, at the end of the day it is thoroughly and completely Josephine Neumann’s artistry.

There is something special on the guitar work for “Little Bird.” It feels like an adventure, taking off from the nest, so to speak. There’s a tenderness in the vocal that feels like it taps into the gentle scene depicted in the lyrics. The phrasing on the song also does a really nice job of developing a poetic, accessible message for the listener.

This is fully a 17-song album and all of the songs are worth your time. In the interests of review length, I couldn’t tackle them all, but suffice it to say that they are all of similar quality and worth consideration. Fans of timeless folk music will enjoy this album a great deal. The melodies are accessible and interesting. The vocal is consistently good. I appreciate the guitar work that invites the listener into each of these songs. This is an impressive new album from Josephine Neumann and I hope the readers of ETTG will give her music a shot.

Image courtesy: Josephine Neumann IG

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