Josh Gracin, ‘Redemption’ – Album Review
Josh Gracin wrote or co-wrote 16 of the 17 songs on his new album ‘Redemption.’ He also co-produced the project. Doing both was a mistake because it takes an experienced hand to scrap high quality material for the betterment of the whole.
Much like an Old Country Buffet, ‘Redemption’ suffers from too much variety. Some fans will appreciate his soulful singing on the Ruben Studdard co-written ‘Catastrophe,’ while others will rave about the country-rock sound of ‘Different Kind of Crazy.’ On their own, both are great songs, but it’s difficult to ping-pong back and forth between the variety on this album.
The jazzy, John Mayer influenced ‘I Want to Make You Cry’ sounds more like a John Mayer song than the Mayer cover ‘Edge of Desire’ (from 2009’s ‘Battle Studies’). Gracin employs an orchestral string section on this song and more obviously towards the end of ‘Let You Go.’
As a songwriter Gracin is one album away from writing the type of sharp, penetrating lyrics that will cut through the clutter on the radio. He shows talent with pen and paper and writes and records songs that push him to bare his soul to listeners. The former Marine tells Taste of Country that ‘Enough’ is his proudest moment on the album, but the revealing story of the early mistakes he made in a relationship (presumably with his wife Ann Marie) are covered up by noisy instrumentation. It is indeed a song to be proud of, but a little more confidence — or a more forceful producer — would have stripped down the walls that still protect his conscience.
Any fan of Gracin’s can turn this complicated effort into a CD that rides in the car for years to come by lopping off four or five songs you don’t care for. In music and in restaurants, quantity doesn’t always equal quality.