Sound — 10
Josh Thompson hit the radio waves with his lead single "Beer on the Table." I must admit that initially I wasn't too impressed. Then, by sheer chance, I caught the music video for the title track of his new album "Way Out Here." Not only was I blown away by the literal performance video, I was engulfed by nostalgia as I recalled my upbringing and favorite way of life. Therefore, I found the record as soon as I could and it's been playing in my car since that time. Yes, "Way Out Here" is a country album. I admit that I am a fan of country and that includes a good portion of mainstream country. However, Josh Thompson is quite akin to one Eric Church, who is undeniably the most talented country artist to be heard on the radio these days. Josh wrote or co-wrote every single song on this record and it should be noted that David Lee Murphy is one of his co-writers. Quite simply, "Way Out Here" is a fantastic country album and the best that I have heard since Eric Church's "Sinners Like Me."
Lyrics — 9
Lyrically, "Way Out Here" is certainly impressive. From the self-observing lines in "Sinner" to the catchy and thought-provoking lyrics found in the title track, this album doesn't have many lyrical holes. Josh Thompson isn't the greatest singer out there and is nothing compared to Eric Church vocally. However, it's quite clear that he and his co-writers crafted lyrics that worked well with his voice. For prime examples, check out "Way Out Here" and "Always Been Me," easily the two most impressive songs on the album.
Overall Impression — 10
I've already mentioned that "Way Out Here" is the best country album I've heard since Eric Church's "Sinners Like Me" and I stand by that statement. It's no wonder these two have been touring together. They're very similar and are two vibrant bright spots upon today's country scene that has become saturated with pop artists who can't write. Anyway, here's my usual song by song review: 01. Beer On The Table: the first single and it's understandable why. It's catchy. It's honest. And it's a great summer song. 7/10 02. Blame It On Waylon: Josh is a lot like Church and Justin Moore in that he consistently gives credit to country greats. It's a pretty good track, but not even close to the best on the album. 8/10 03. Sinner: an obvious standout. When I first heard this song I thought it about summed me up. 10/10 04. Won't Be Lonely Long: starts off with an intro quite alike Garth Brooks' slower tracks but picks up after the first chorus. A great break-up song. 9/10 05. Always Been Me: my second favorite song on the album. It speaks of a morale code that I myself continually try to live by. I suggest this song to any who are interested in this album and artist. 10/10 06. A Name in This Town: one of the tracks that David Lee Murphy co-wrote and it's solid, as usual for Mr. Murphy. A catchy little tune that makes a nice transition between the album's two best songs. 9/10 07. Way Out Here: if you, like me, grew up in a small town and loved every second of it. If you cherish it to this day, this song will hit you in the gut. It's tremendous and contains my favorite lyrical line on the album: "Cause we're about John Wayne, Johnny Cash, and John Deere way out here." I suggest watching the video before listening to the recorded version. 10/10 08. You Ain't Seen Country Yet: not a bad little tune, but not my favorite. 8/10 09. Back Around: pretty solid song about a young love. It's catchy, has a great chorus, and also brings back memories. 9/10 10. I Won't Go Crazy: A very good song. I enjoyed Thompson's take on a tough breakup. This is another of my favorites. 10/10 If you, like me, have a soft spot for country artists who write and write well or are a huge fan of Eric Church, I suggest this album. It's tremendous. I made the constant references to EC just because of how good this album is. If you like mainstream country, this is the best that it gets aside from Mr. Church himself.