“Hang my reputation out to dry, I don’t care at all. Hand in my deadly weapons from the warpath my life’s been on”
JOSH T. PEARSON has unveiled a new track from his forthcoming album, The Straight Hits!, out on vinyl, CD and download on 13 April 2018.
Josh T. Pearson and his band, which features Lift To Experience drummer Andy Young and members of the Texas Gentlemen, take to the road with a tour across Europe in May and June, with the final date of the UK tour at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 22 May. Ahead of then, Josh T. Pearson will head to Austin’s SXSW festival in March for a series of dates and will perform solo acoustic sets across the Rough Trade shops in the The UK in April. Full details below. Though he’s been a recording artist for over two decades now and has been writing songs for thirty years, The Straight Hits! is only Josh T. Pearson’s second solo album, and follows his acclaimed debut, 2011’s Last Of The Country Gentlemen and 2001’s The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads by Lift To Experience.
Lately, the dapper Texan gentleman has been motivated by a desire to share more Josh T. Pearson music with the world, before it’s too late.
“In the last years, I learned to dance, take drugs, make love… choose life. I got rid of the beard, cut my hair and started wearing colour. I burned down all my idols and realized in the process that I needed to burn down my reputation as fast as I could too. I felt constricted by the old stuff and I didn’t like being in a cage. It wasn’t letting me move on.” “I was at the US Embassy in London when the shit went down with the presidential election in 2016,” he remembers. “It was unsettling; I’ve never seen the country so divided. A responsibility seemed to shift within me – like, where are the people really stepping up to spread joy?”
It is in this spirit that Mr Josh T. Pearson presents The Straight Hits!, an album which began as a mere creative exercise – each song had to follow certain parameters, listed below as The Five Pillars – and one that has given Pearson the freedom to write a lighter, more “straight” album, described by Uncut as demonstrating “a sense of well being and a lightness of spirit”.
The Straight Hits! features multiple different flavours of country, rock and all points in between, taking in blasts of goofy shit-kicking country-punk (opener ‘Straight To The Top!’), cataclysmic rock’n’roll playing its romantic drama at high-stakes (‘Loved Straight To Hell’, which compresses the elemental power of Lift To Experience into five and a half minutes of symphonic turmoil); aching folksy mourn (‘Dire Straights Of Love’), and even a bona fide love song, the deliciously profound ache of ‘A Love Song (Set Me Straight)’, which Pearson admits breaks several of the Five Pillars, but obeys an unwritten Sixth Pillar: Musical rules are made to be broken. Written in three days, the tracks were cut with similar no-nonsense focus, in three days with engineer Matt Pence (who made Mute’s 2017 reissue of The Texas-Jerusalem
Crossroads sound so vivid) at the controls, Lift To Experience drummer Andy Young once again manning the traps, and Daniel Creamer and Scott Lee Jr. of The Texas Gentlemen on keyboards and bass guitar. The recordings were then flown to the UK to be mixed by Ben Hillier. And while the whole project was meant as a simple “exercise”, the result is some of Pearson’s finest music.
Josh T. Pearson has freed himself from the mythology that has surrounded him since Lift To Experience’s implosion, his subsequent years in the wilderness travelling throughout Europe and beyond, and the release of his acclaimed debut album.
There’s new Josh T. Pearson music in the world, and it’s joyful, giddy life-affirming stuff.
JOSH T. PEARSON LIVE
12 Mar – US, Austin TX, SXSW Discover Denton Texas Music Showcase – 1am (Sidewinder
13 Mar – US, Austin TX, SXSW w/ Low – 9pm (St. David’s Historic Sanctuary)
14 Mar – US, Austin TX, SXSW SX San Jose – 4pm (Hotel San Jose)
15 Mar – US, Austin TX, SXSW Tiger Bomb Promo Official SXSW Showcase – 1am (Valhalla)
13 Apr – UK, London Rough Trade West instore + signing, from 2pm
13 Apr – UK, London Rough Trade East instore + signing, from 7pm
14 Apr – UK, Bristol Rough Trade instore + signing, from 6.30pm
15 Apr – UK, Nottingham Rough Trade instore + signing, from 5.30pm
15 May – UK, Leeds Brudenell Social Club
16 May – UK, Birmingham The Glee Club
18 May – IE, Dublin Whelans
19 May – UK, Glasgow Art School
20 May – UK, Manchester Gorilla
22 May – UK, London Shepherd’s Bush Empire
24 May – FR, Paris La Maroquinerie
26 May – BE, Belgium Rotonde Botanique
27 May – NL, Amsterdam Bitterzoet
28 May – DE, Cologne Gebäude 9
29 May – DE, Hamburg Knust
30 May – DE, Berlin Quasimodo
4 June – SE, Stockholm Kagelbanen
5 June – DK, Copenhagen DR Koncerthuset Studio 3
6 June – NO, Oslo Parkteatret
The Straight Hits! Tracklisting
Straight To The Top!
Straight At Me
Give It To Me Straight
Straight Laced Come Undone
Loved Straight To Hell
The Dire Straits Of Love
Whiskey Straight Love
A Love Song (Set Me Straight)
Straight Down Again!
Josh T. Pearson’s The Five Pillars:
1) All songs must have a verse, a chorus and a bridge.
2) The lyrics must run 16 lines or less.
3) They must have the word ‘straight’ in the title.
4) That title must be four words or less.
5) They must submit to the song above all else. (“You do as she tells you, whatever the song tells you,” Pearson explains. “You bend to her, and not her to you.”).
Praise for 2011’s Last Of The Country Gentlemen
10* Uncut / 8* MOJO / 8* Q / 10* Drowned In Sound / 8* Clash / 8* Rolling Stone
The Straight Hits! is released on Mute on 13 April 2018
Pre-order ‘The Straight Hits!’
Listen to the first track, ‘Straight To The Top!’