Josh Abbott Band
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As Josh Abbott Band moved into the final stages of work on Until My Voice Goes Out, lead singer Josh Abbott’s personal life took a couple significant twists that underscored where JAB finds itself professionally. Abbott’s father suffered a stroke while the album was being recorded, and Josh split his time between the studio and the hospital bedside, finishing all the lead vocals shortly before his dad passed away. Two months later, Josh welcomed his first child into the world.
Those developments in the spring of 2017 nutshelled the circle of life, and in a way, that’s how Until My Voice Goes Out operates. As the band observes 10 years since recording its first single, “Taste,” Voice finds the seven-piece Texas ensemble ending one chapter and beginning another. Its last album, the dramatic Front Row Seat, encapsulated the life cycle of a relationship, from its passionate start to its heartbreaking conclusion. It was a summary document of events from the past.
Until My Voice Goes Out is, by contrast, a hopeful look into the future, a roll-up-the-sleeves-and-moveforward embrace of life and its potential.
“This album is about appreciating the moment and your family and your friends, and living life the right way,” Abbott says. “It’s really all about finding clarity and focusing on what’s important.”
Experiencing life at its fullest includes taking risks, and Josh Abbott Band does that successfully in Until My Voice Goes Out, incorporating strings and a horn section for the first time. The approach layered both a glassy classicism and a ragged soul on the well-oiled JAB framework. Arranger Rob Mathes – noted for his work with Tony Bennett, Sting and Bruce Springsteen – worked up a handful of mood-setting string preludes and added to JAB’s range by, for example, weaving classy, dancing violins into “Girl Down In Texas” alongside Austin Davis’ plucky banjo and drummer Edward Villanueva’s firm backbeat. Mathes lathered a thick, Memphis-soul layer atop “Texas Women, Tennessee Whiskey” and threw a buzzing baritone sax under “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” with the Austin-based horn section Groove Line carrying it out in thick precision.
“The guys were really hesitant that this would work,” Abbott concedes, “but I just said, ‘Look, let’s take another bold leap of faith here. Let’s go in the studio and record these songs and kick ass, the way we would make a normal album, but once we’re done making the cake, let’s see if the horns and the strings can put the icing on it.’ The band still recorded an album that sounds like us. You still have the banjo and a lot of fun, upbeat stuff and some really pretty love songs, and that’s core to JAB (Josh Abbott Band). That’s how we got our start.”
The genesis of JAB was almost non-descript. Abbott and Davis, frat brothers at Texas Tech University, performed at a couple of open-mic nights at the Blue Light Live in Lubbock. Those dates gave the two budding musicians “the bug,” and they grew their duo into a full-fledged band. Villanueva and fiddler Preston Wait were the first of the current lineup to join, followed by bass player James Hertless and guitarist Caleb Keeter in 2010, and keyboard player David Fralin in 2015.
Texas’ red-dirt scene provides a wealth of touring opportunities for young bands, and JAB made the most of it, quickly vaulting into the upper realms of the state’s live acts with a raucous, raw sound and a certain unpredictability. Once “Taste” appeared on radio stations across the Lone Star State, audiences came out to hear – and sing along with – that song and a wealth of hooky, accessible titles on Scapegoat and their 2010 breakthrough, She’s Like Texas, both released on the band’s own indie label, the appropriately named Pretty Damn Tough Records.
JAB nabbed Top 10 debuts on the Billboard country albums chart with 2012’s Small Town Family Dream and 2015’s Front Row Seat, and the band lobbed five singles onto the Hot Country Songs chart, including the infectious “Hangin’ Around” and “Amnesia.” In a cool quirk, JAB also provided two significant women their first chart exposure: 2011’s “Oh, Tonight” introduced many listeners to award-winning Kacey Musgraves; and 2016’s “Wasn’t That Drunk” set up Carly Pearce to sign with Nashville’s Big Machine Records.
INDIVIDUAL DATES & TIMES*
Additional time info:
Doors open 7pm
One Cannery Row, Nashville, TN 37203(Neighborhood: The Gulch)