Whisky and morphine have been good friends to me is the opening line of Josh Harty’s third album. It pretty much ensures you know right from the start that this is not going to be a cheerful album and it doesn’t disappoint. Nor does this excellent album disappoint in any other fashion, except for the simple fact that it is only seven tracks long.
Harty was singing gospel and country music with his father from the age of 10 and by 12 they had even made a couple of albums together. This experience, along with being the son of a police chief and a preacher seem to have provided him with plenty of both performing and life experience. Although what sort of experience led to the writing of “Sweet Solution”, the story of someone contemplating suicide, probably doesn’t bear thinking about.
In case Harty needed anything else in his favour, the cover of Richard Thompson’s classic road song “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”, a live version of which closes the album, is excellent and delivered with enough confidence to make it sound his own.
Considering that it is three years since his last album, A Long List of Lies, two covers and a co-write to go with the four written by Harty doesn’t seem like a lot. As his debut album Three Day Notice was released in 2003, Harty can hardly be said to be prolific. Still, as long as the quality is there then the wait is always going to be worth it, so go seek him out as it may be a while before another album appears.
Josh Harty is touring the UK later this year. Dates released so far are here.