New music from Josh T. Pearson

Josh T. Pearson
(Brian G. Doherty)

Update (3/25/2011): I’ve recently posted my review of Last of the Country Gentlemen.

You might best know Josh T. Pearson as the former frontman of Lift to Experience, the end times-minded noise-rock trio from Texas. But Lift To Experience has been essentially dead for years, and Pearson has since gone on to a solo career. To date, he’s only released a 7″ on Bella Union, and while he’s done a number of tours, many of them have been in Europe. So for most of us, the only way to hear Pearson’s solo output is via his MySpace page.

Those expecting something similar to Lift To Experience’s louder than loud shoegazer aesthetic — see The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads — will likely be disappointed. It’s just Pearson and his acoustic guitar, and he sounds like he’s channeling the ghost of Hank Williams as well as that of Jeff Buckley. Which means, of course, that he’s singing about booze, women, and God — and sometimes all three at the same time.

One holdover from the Lift To Experience days is Pearson’s sense of humor. At times, his songs are deeply reverent and melancholy, the next, cheeky and swaggering. The best example of this is “Woman, When I’ve Raised Hell.” Here, Pearson distills every country music cliché regarding the love and hate between men and women into six minutes, veering from cockiness and offensiveness:

Woman, when I’ve raised hell, heaven knows you’re gonna know it
Don’t make me rule this home with the back of my hand

…to sorrow and resignation:

And your old friend silence would creep back into this pettiest of all places
He’ll ask you again, which is better for worse:
Living with me or living with all my ghosts?

Other songs, such as the ten-minute “Limestone County Blues”, are pretty broad and over-the-top in their delivery (not to mention in their love for Texas and hatred for hippies), but still manage to become affecting in their final moments.

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