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Josh Abbott Band

Catching Fire – 2019 (Pretty Damn Tough)

Reviewed by Bill Caruthers

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CDs by Josh Abbott Band

Josh Abbott Band returns more to its roots after exploring a more Nashville-type sound over the last two albums. This self-released effort shows maturity and confidence by remembering who they are and expanding their base at the same time.

With the title cut, co-written by Abbott, serving as a bridge between their past musical exploration and rootsy Texas sound,his distinctive voice elevates this from being just another indistinguishable modern-day country release. However, this more homogenous sound ends here. The remaining three cuts show Abbott growing as an artist while staying true to himself.

The rest shows JAB at their best, and Abbott himself as an interpreter of song that few can match today as well as a solid songwriter. It is as a storyteller that shines the most and he does not disappoint. With "Outta Get Drunk," a bar song complete with a sing-along chorus that fans can raise a glass to, Abbott is back in his element. "Surprise Surprise" is a self-penned, vintage-sounding effort that serves as an autobiographical chronicle of the band past musical exploration and their musical rebirth over the past two years by returning to their roots wiser and more steady. If you liked earlier JAB, you'll love this cut. Incomplete without a love song, "Little More You" more than fills that void with another hook-filled chorus.

Showing experience and maturity, this "back to the future" approach seems to be the right move at the right time.