Sunday, 15 February 2015


As many of you know by now, music makes my soul happy. My tastes are varied, but I have a soft spot for anything with folk-y, blues-y, rock-y tones. I also have a soft spot for male vocalists who show grit, determination and passion when they sing. 

Enter Russell Joslin.

The first time I heard Russell Joslin was when a friend of mine recommended his album 'Dream Token'. I listened, I loved - I swooned. I reviewed his second offering, 'Jet Black and White' when I volunteered at For Folks Sake and, again, was happy to witness Joslin as he transformed acoustic folk into a genre all his own.

In the years since, I'll admit, he slipped out of my regular music rotation, becoming like a rare treasure I would rediscover every six months or so. So when I got the opportunity to review to his latest offering, Harlequins, I jumped at the chance to rediscover him all over again and see what he's been up to. 

And I was not disappointed. 

The opening track, 'Up with the birds' immediately grabs your attention with strings adding a new layer and jarring you in the best way possible. When the electric guitar kicks in, it turns what could have been a steady ditty to nod your head to into what feels like a beautiful, French tragedy.  

'Our Queen' lulls you back to safety with a more upbeat tempo, laced with rock-inspired riffs before the first single from the album, 'What a waste', changes it up again with a slicker, yet more sombre feel. The saxaphone weaves itself around lines like "you threw your love around in the wrong place", quickly elevating it to stand-out-track status. 

The simplicity of 'Doves may fly' stole my heart (and if I had to pick favourites, this would be it), telling a love story the only way Joslin could, with poetic metaphor and honesty. 

The rest of the album holds steady, 'The chosen few' is a crowd pleaser I envision doing well at festivals, and 'Victory parade' tells a veteran's story and makes me want to learn all the words so I can sing along. The closing track, 'Pale Mary', featured on Joslin's previous album, but I welcomed the re-recording back into my life like an old friend who I always had a crush on.

Listening to Harlequins, what stands out most for me is that Joslin's story telling abilities are well and truly intact. His music has evolved for sure, he's added new dimensions and new moods, but the way he writes lyrics, stories and music is as beautiful as ever. 

Harlequins will be released on 23rd Feb (my birthday!) and you can pick it up here

Who have you been listening to recently?


Edit: I just read through some old entries on here and came across a stream of consciousness I wrote back in 2008 that mentioned Mr. Joslin - clearly I was inspired (and a little sad)...

Thursday 12th June 2008, 01:33 AM

How can music do that? Reach into the bottom of your soul and reveal to you long forgotten emotions. God she loves it. These early hours are the best, when all are asleep but her and her new best friend - Mr Joslin. Oh how you move her, recreate tears that fell years ago. She thought they had died, gone forever - but you found them. You have decorated her sketched face with the artful little shapes. You are reminding her what her calling is, showing her it needn’t all be electrical nonsense - just passion. And her loves, (oh her loves), losses and continuing loneliness, you’ve found them too. Her mind is shooting scenes every second - various men take their turn in the role of leading man. He’s in bed with her and holds onto her naked skin for dear life. And you, good sir, are their soundtrack, and you are infuriating their imaginary passion and her real hurt. She thanks you for it, truly, nothing has moved her this far for years indeed. I think it was the push she needed to finally approach the belly of the beast... and secretly enjoy it.


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