Joshua McClain – Coming Home
YOU TUBE: www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4vN-nEvA28
Joshua McClain’s first self-titled EP was released in June 2011. He also collaboratively released a full-length album in March of 2016 with The Handsome Brunettes, titled Is Fortune a Wheel, with critical acclaim. Highly sought after for both his composition and improvisation as a studio musician, Joshua stays busy working with many Bay Area artists, including folk/americana sensation Spark and Whisper and on Sara Lovell’s latest album You’ve Got Me, winner of the 2016 parent’s choice award. Coming Home, his latest is a concept album based on Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, and Joshua’s cello leads as the main instrument.
Joshua’s style is deeply influenced by the music of Andrew Bird, Zoe Keating, Mark Summer, Yo-Yo Ma, Sigur Rós, Dirty Three, Jimi Hendrix, Max Richter, Yann Tiersen, and Hans Zimmer, among others. These are all details you can find along with so much more at his website. The album is a lot to take in, especially in one sitting, as it plays like one track but there are eight altogether. It starts out with “Journey” which hints at what’s to come and serves as a fine introduction to the concept. The music is somewhere between classical and Americana if it fits any categories. Some might even say it verges on prog rock.
There’s a heavy-handed inclination about it, combined with some influences that certainly don’t count out the prog tag, but as McClain indicates, you can call it what you want, whatever feels right. It’s about how you see it, as well as how he intended it about himself, also pertaining to the Campbell storyline. The second track, “A New World” plays its part more-or less in the triple entendre of author, musician and audience the album covers with no secret about it. This lush piece is where it begins to take off and captivate you with its marvelous musicianship and lavish production.
The following response is musically one of the more outstanding songs of them all, with “Spirit Guide” lifting things up as high as you can imagine thus far on such a cool album. It might even be the sleeper track of the album, depending on whether-or not you like the howling female vocals which for my taste really help make this song what it is. The build-up as it closes, leaves you wanting more, and more I did get as I listened to it a few times on the first outing. If I had a favorite track this would be the highest contender for it, but to be fair and honest, to my ears there is no filler on this brilliant release.
“A Storm On The Horizon” is one of the lesser dynamic but more laid back and groovier tracks to its credit. If “slinky” is a good word for it, then it will do. It’s a mood piece that works within the concept, and if you look at it all as one big piece of music, you’ll comprehend it a lot better. Either way you slice it here there’s something for any lover of everything from classical to folk and even some rock. From the opener, to “Underworld,” and “Rebirth,” to the roaring wonders of the fantastic “Hear My Voice” which is a must hear. It might even be worth the price of admission, it’s beyond innovative, and of genius quality.
CD BABY: store.cdbaby.com/cd/joshuamcclain1