Artist: Joshua James
Album: My Spirit Sister
Label: MTN Recordings
Release Date: 4.7.2017
Joshua James has been quietly building a strong repertoire for himself over the past decade. Wading your way through his discography is a fascinating journey, and the introspective tendencies on his sixth studio album, My Spirit Sister, bring the listener to an interesting crossroad.
The cover greets us with James lightly waving while his face is covered by a grimacing skeleton. This Charon-like imagery perfectly introduces us to a journey through an emotional underworld that, on the surface, may seem bleak, but is deeply humbling and comforting. Throughout the album, the reverb-heavy guitar drifts carefully but efficiently from track to track while being carefully guided by James’ quiet but impactful voice.
Lyrically, the album is a meditation on a middle ground between darkness and light and what each one of those poles means. Each song seems to pose a different idea about the human condition, and much like life itself, the tracks are unpredictably beautiful. From the opening track, “Broken Tongue,” where James laments about wishing for someone to “check on me/and lie that everything’s alright” to the chanting of “tell everybody in my head” at the end of “Real Love,” it’s clear that My Spirit Sister is a journey down a mental river Styx, and James acts as a careful ferryman who is not only accustomed to such a journey, but who wants to make this trip as comfortable as possible.