Josh Ward is one of those Texan country traditionalists who are still out there, performing and recording real country music, and enjoying significant regional success which has started to reach other parts of the country. His latest album, his fourth, hopes to continue his success.
The lead single, ‘’All About Lovin’’, is a cheerful up-tempo tune written by Brice Long, Terry McBride and Chris Stapleton. A potentially radio-friendly toe-tapping groove means this could have been a hit if national country radio hadn’t lost the plot; it did hit the top of the Texas country charts.
Josh co-wrote three of the songs. He is a former rodeo rider himself, and the thoughtful ‘A Cowboy Can’ pays tribute to tough lives and those who don’t give up:
The nights get cold
And the highway never ends
Not many folks can live this life
But a cowboy can
I wouldn’t wish this on the faint of heart
‘Cause I know it ain’t for everyone
Some folks might try to look the part
We don’t do this just for fun
It’s every part of who I am
I’ve got no-quit runnin’ through my veins
It ain’t an easy way to make a buck
‘One More Shot Of Whiskey’ is an excellent song, a downbeat depiction of heartbreak:
I’ve been hangin’ with the devil
I’ve been right down on his level
And I drink his wine night after night
I’ve tried Jones and I’ve tried Haggard
Tried to find somethin’ sadder
It helped a little bit but it took too much time
I’ve only found one thing that comes close
If it takes a month of Sundays
I’ll get over you someday
Say the hell with you and I’ll find someone too
But tonight I’m in trouble and I might start shootin’ doubles
Catch a quick-fix buzz and call you up
So as long as Tennessee makes 90 proof
I need one more shot of whiskey
‘Cause I know that’s all it takes for me
To drown out your damn memory
And help my heart not hurt this way
But I won’t know it did the trick until it hits me
The almost-title track, ‘More Than I Deserved’, the last of Josh’s own songs, is a wistfully regretful song about a lost love.
‘Say Hello To Goodbye’ is a lovely ballad with the protagonist offering some sympathy to a friend who, one assumes like himself, has lost in love through his own fault.
Another highlight is ‘The Devil Don’ t Scare Me’, in which losing a loved one is the worst thing he can possibly imagine happening, including death and hell:
Preacher used to preach about fire and brimstone
I was shakin’ in the shoes in the pew I sat on
12 years old
Afraid of where I’d go
Ten years later wonderin’ how I got here
Where neon burns and they sell cold beer
Heaven seems so far away
‘Cause ever since the night she left me
Ain’t a damn thing that can help me
I’ve tried praying
I’ve tried whiskey
It’s livin’ hell wishing she’d missed me
No I ain’t afraid of dying
‘Cause I lost the one thing I was livin’ for
Now the devil don’t scare me anymore
‘Ain’t It Baby’ is a mellow ballad about staying in love, and ‘Loving Right’ is quite pleasant.
In the midpaced honky tonker ‘Another Heartache’, the narrator wants to enjoy himself and a one night stand, and not fall in love to risk the pain of the inevitable pain.
A rapid paced paean to the bar which is the protagonist’s ‘Home Away From Home’ lacks melody. ‘God Made A Woman’ is a bit generic.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable album.