Kelley, Josh - 2003 For The Ride Home

ARTIST: Kelley, Josh
ALBUM: For The Ride Home
LABEL: Hollywood Records
SERIAL: 2061-62377-2
YEAR: 2003

LINEUP: Josh Kelley - vocals, guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 Amazing * 02 Everybody Wants You * 03 Travelin * 04 Old Time Memory * 05 Home To Me * 06 Angeles * 07 I Saw You * 08 Small Town Boy * 09 Faces * 10 Follow You * 11 Perfect 10 * 12 Amen * 13 Pokerface

The Songs

After more than a few spins of 'For The Ride Home', I was having difficulty working out if it's merely a coincidence that Josh Kelley sounds like John Mayer's identical twin or whether it was a purposeful intention.

After noticing that Hollywood Records have enlisted Mayer's producer John Alagia and engineer Jeff Juliano to provide the sonic sheen on this, Kelley's debut, I concluded that it's probably a bit of both.

The Songs

Undoubtedly, Kelley is a talented singer-songwriter, and on its own terms, 'For The Ride Home' could only be considered a fine album with some excellent tunes such as 'I Saw You' and the superb 'Old Time Memory', but it seems his label have made too much of an effort to mould him into a Mayer clone.

It's precisely for this reason that it will probably shift copies by the bucket load, but it leaves a slightly sour taste nonetheless. Lead-off single 'Amazing' is Kelley's answer to Mayer's 'Your Body Is A Wonderland' and it's just as effective as an infectious summer anthem, while 'Travelin' shares a similar vibe to 'Love Song For No One' from Mayer's 'Room For Squares'.

The album is high on quality but short on originality, but there are moments here that suggest Kelley doesn't need to sound so blatantly like his contemporary, as demonstrated by the excellent 'Angeles', and the sparse acoustic brilliance of 'Amen'. The mass market of Mayer fans is presumably too good a chance to pass up, though.

In Summary

I guess it's fairly apt that Kelley paved the way to getting a record deal by using Napster to target his demos specifically to fans of bands he thought they sounded like, but it is to be hoped that on his next release he avoids the temptation to live in the shadow of other artists.

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