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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

Releasing five albums and two EPs since 2008, the normally prolific Josh Abbott Band returns more to its roots after exploring new, 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, "Catching Fire," co-written by Abbott, serving as a bridge between their past musical exploration and their rootsy Texas sound, it is his distinctive voice that elevates this cut 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.

It is as a storyteller that Abbott shines the most. 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, the uptempo "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.