We weturn to the wonderful, wassailing world of Josh Woodward to weveal that he has a bwand new album, Bweadcwumbs Breadcrumbs, for you. (This is a cause for celebration, as I hope my previous review of his work will make clear.) The convention at such moments is to recommend the new album in the hope that you will download it, unwrap it, fall in love with it and then explore the artist's back catalogue. However, being a perverse sort of blog, CTW has decided to buck the trend and recommend an older album by Josh in the hope that you'll enjoy it, etc., etc., and then explore his new album. Contrary to my usual behaviour, I do have two good reasons for this apparently deviant thought process.
Firstly, Josh has just changed the Creative Commons licensing on all his music to Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, meaning that anyone can use his music for any purpose as long he is attributed. As he says:
"You're welcome to use my music, free of charge for your projects. This includes movies, ads, podcasts, YouTube videos, karaoke, background music for your grandma's 90th birthday celebration, anything. There's no problem using them for commercial purposes. You can use them as is - instrumental or regular, or you can hack them apart to use in your songs or projects.
What's the catch? Just one: you need to provide attribution. A simple mention of my name and the song title in the credits, with a bonus if you give my website URL. If for some reason this isn't practical, it's possible to arrange a paid license for my music through Jamendo."
Such largesse means that the Woodward back catalogue is now accessible to all and sundry to do with what they will. I hope this generous decision provides Josh with the oxygen of publicity and the H2O of cash.
Secondly, Josh has remixed his 2005 album Crawford Street, something that pleases me greatly because such a superb collection of songs deserved a livelier recording. Before I wibble on about how Crawford Street is an avenue of delights, try this for size - it's suitable for anyone who finds zoos to be depressing places:
That's the thing about Woodward; not only does he write memorable melodies, he pens lyrics that stay with you. Here's some of the topics you'll come across in this collection: small and big-town prejudices (Can't Take Our Love Away); first loves and living/losing the American Dream (Thanks For Coming); an actor hates the violent B-movie he's making (Shower Scene); overhearing a "domestic" next door and falling in love with the battered woman (Hey Ruth) and religious fundamentalism (The Spirit World). All that may sound worthy and dull, but the winning lyrics, sparkling guitar work and butter-smooth vocals ensure that you'll soon be swaying with pleasure, like a cobra facing a snake charmer. Personally, I think Thanks For Coming should come with a free chaise longue and a bottle of Anjou/Thunderbird/Buckfast Cider.
A quick confession: in recommending free CC albums, I try to avoid over-egging the pudding. Just because a record is free, it doesn't follow that it's any good; I prefer to let the music speak for itself. Either you'll like it or you won't.*takes anti-hyperbole pill, fails to wait two paragraphs before operating heavy machinery*
But I think Crawford Street (and other albums like the previously reviewed Dirty Wings and The Simple Life) place Josh Woodward firmly in a long line of modern American troubadours that include Dylan, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Leonard Cohen. His music should be better known.
Another name to drop: Bruce Springsteen. If The Boss had written Big Disco Ball, a sentimental and romantic encounter amongst urban decay, he'd be blinded by his audience's lighters/camera-phones. Find somewhere quiet and let this steal a few minutes of your life:Josh Woodward - Big Disco Ball
*still waiting for pill to work*
Visit Woodward HQ and you'll find Crawford Street's songs and lyrics, seven other albums, photos, videos and a polite request for donations and sales. If the sounds find favour with you, please think about rewarding J. Woodward Esq. for his endeavours or at least send him an email with the subject line, "I thought you were a dirty, good-for-nothing hippie but now I've put your name on my organ donor card as a recipient". Or similar. Go on, you can do it.
*pill kicks in*
I'm not sure about the Autotuned vocals and eurotrash synths on Waiting Takes Time, the last track on CS. Hey, even Homer nods...off in front of the TV. Ah, a classical allusion and modern satire in one sentence. Anyone got an anti-ego pill? Edit: someone not unadjacent to JW says that Waiting Takes Time is a parody of Cher's infamous Believe. D'oh!
Before I forget, here's the cover of Breadcrumbs because I'm not stingy and because some of you need visual prompts. ;)