Artist: Joshua Davis
Album: The Way Back Home
Label: Soundly Music
Release Date: 10.13.2017
Listening to The Way Back Home is like walking down a long dirt road; it’s meandering and mellow, and you won’t be in a hurry to reach the end. For inspiration, Michigan musician and The Voice finalist Joshua Davis drew from life experience touring around the country and feeling like “a disconnected ghost going town to town performing every night.” But the resulting work isn’t so much a melancholy drive down memory lane as it is a celebration of coming home after a period away, exactly as the title suggests.
Davis’ clear and steady vocals are an obvious focal point for the album, which employs a mixture of folk influences like Arlo Guthrie and mild pop elements reminiscent of Gavin DeGraw or John Mayer. A few standout tracks are “Change The Game,” which references movie romances The Princess Bride, Harold and Maude and Casablanca. There’s a nostalgic charm to “Rosarita” and “The Ballad of Lawrence Wotkyns King.”
If there’s criticism to offer, it’s that The Way Back Home isn’t a particularly daring collection of songs. In tracks like “Nowhere Without You,” Davis sticks to safe themes that don’t do much to break new ground, or make a truly unique impression. It’s unlikely to dissuade any casual listener in search of catchy hooks or gentle lyricism, however.