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Josh Thompson

Turn It Up – 2014 (Show Dog-Universal)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Josh Thompson

Josh Thompson's sophomore release, "Turn It Up" is his first on Toby Keith's Show Dog label. It seems to be a good match because both artists are cut from the same cloth. Thompson is also known as a champion of the everyman. Turns out they both have the same tendency to go over the top. Thompson excessively showcases the blue collar lifestyle the way Keith champions patriotism.

In fact, eight of the 10 tracks involve drinking, some with unsubtle titles like "Drink, Drink, Drink" and the current hit single, "Got A Cold Beer With Your Name On It." There are three songs about a girl leaving, a subject Thompson admits to "having a lot of experience with."

Sonically, "Turn It Up" connects with the rowdy tone of 2010's "Way Out Here" (that CD had the hit "Beer on the Table"), but it subtly incorporates new sonic elements - pulsing electronic sounds, an old-school clavinet, drum-machine beats and a gang vocal or two.

If the characters aren't drinking, they're tooling around in a Trans Am "Firebird" or a pickup with fuzzy dice, "Hillbilly Limo."

The chorus of "Hank Crankin' People" reads "We take our hats off when we face the flag/Take the cap off when we hear the Hag."

The album may pack the energy Thompson aimed for, but it's certainly nothing new thematically and continues to perpetuate country music stereotypes.