Rising from a small, blue collar town, buried in the Appalachain Mountains, lies Kentucky’s answer to the New Jersey sound that time forgot; Fair City Lights by Josh Nolan. Nolan’s album is a refreshing, much needed nod, to the early rock and roll sounds of singer/songwriters from the likes of Tom Petty, John Mellencamp, Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen. ‘The Boss’ will obviously be the first thing you’re reminded of when you listen to the album but it’s has so many more layers than that; dig in and find out for yourself… I fully expect it to be included on a whole lotta “best of 2014” list; I know it will remain on mine.
The album, “Fair City Lights,” kicks off with a track titled “Do it Right.” It’s a great opening song because it adequately shows off what Nolan is brining to the table but only through subtle hints. Therefore you can’t fully grasp his brilliance until you listen to the entire album (the tracks are perfectly placed like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle). Coming out of the gate with his “boots on tight and head on straight” Nolan masterfully weaves between country ballad type tunes such as; East Kentucky Skyline, Brave Heart Too, and Do it Right into more rock n roll, gritty tracks such as; Lulbegrud Revival (Golden Age), When I was Young, and Waiting on the Night like a horse racing for the finish line at the Kentucky Derby. The closing track on the record, Between the Lights, starts out with a somber fiddle and ends with a fasted paced lyrical delivery in which Nolan is all but literally thanking his influences. This isn’t just my favorite track on the album; it’s is the perfect track to close out this beautifully crafted, debut album from Kentucky’s own Josh Nolan.
Bottom-line: The album is great; an instant classic. It’s also a perfect soundtrack for driving around with the windows down and singing along “to the voices on the radio.” Do yourself a favor, pick up a copy of this album; you won’t regret it.
I was fortunate enough to pick Josh Nolan and pick his brain a little about the album. Not only is the album fantastic, Josh is a great dude and once you meet him, you’ll love his music even more….
BHAMFM: There’s not a whole lot to the cover art, it’s pretty simple, any special reason?
JN: The font on the cover is my mothers handwriting. Mom used to get paid to write peoples wedding invitations. When I tried to write the title it just looked like someone dropped a tackle box on a scratch-off ticket. So basically, someone’s Save-the-Date looks a lot like my first record.
BHAMFM: So you write like a 4yr old, noted. I’ve heard through the grapevine (if that grapevine has a lot of hair, tattoos, and also plays in a Lexington, Ky based band) that you played most, if not all, of the instruments on this album. True of false?
JN: I didn’t play the horns on the fiddle and on “Waiting on the Night” my sister played the drums but other than that I can be blamed for the rest! Starlit Lorentzen (Flickertail Holler) played the fiddle on “Between the Lights. She listened to the song a few times, I gave her the melody and let her play it. I’d point out what I liked and where I liked it. We’d cut and paste, so to speak. The finished product ended up being, essentially, four sections of a solid take; I don’t think it took much more than an hour and that was the first the actual time she had even played the song.
BHAMFM: Wow. Well nice work, my friend. Gimme two random facts about the album. 3,2,1 GO!
JN: I wrote all but the first verse and chorus of “Til the World Runs Out” the night before I did the vocal tracks. “Brave Heart, too” was a working title I had given a riff I wrote on the clock while working at guitar center; only then it was Brave Heart II. I finished the music, which was a completely different vibe, and wrote the lyrics; starting with that stupid pun. The lyrics ended up being not so Dude Ranch era Blink and I flipped the music around and rearranged it to let the narrative be the foreground. I had the idea for the accordion intro when I was in the studio; I had initially planned for that to be an organ.
BHAMFM: Well the album is one of my favorites of the years. I look forward to much more outta you in the future! One last question; Do you still work at guitar center?
JN: Liquor store
BHAMFM: Like a boss.
- Do it Right
- Waitin’ On the Night
- Come Mornin’
- Brave Heart, Too
- When I Was Young
- East Ky Skyline
- Lulbegrud Revival (Golden Age)
- ‘Til the World Runs Out
- Between the Lights