Music Reviews

Josh Kelley

For The Ride Home


After more than a few spins of For The Ride Home, I was having difficulty working out if it’s merely a coincidence that Josh Kelley sounds like John Mayer’s identical twin or whether that’s the intention. After noticing that Hollywood Records has enlisted both Mayer’s producer John Alagia and engineer Jeff Juliano to provide the sonic sheen on this, Kelley’s debut, I concluded that it’s probably a bit of both.

Undoubtedly, Kelley is a talented singer-songwriter, and, on its own terms, For The Ride Home could only be considered a fine album with some excellent tunes such as “I Saw You” and the superb ““Time Memory,” but it seems his label has made too much of an effort to mould him into a Mayer clone.

It’s precisely for this reason that it will probably shift copies by the bucket load, but it leaves a slightly sour taste nonetheless. Lead-off single “Amazing” is Kelley’s answer to Mayer’s “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” and it’s just as effective as an infectious summer anthem. “Travelin” shares a similar vibe to “Love Song For No One” from Mayer’s Room For Squares.

The album is high on quality but short on originality. However, there are moments here that suggest Kelley doesn’t need to sound so blatantly like his contemporary, as demonstrated by the excellent “Angeles” and the sparse acoustic brilliance of “Amen.” The mass market of Mayer fans is presumably too good a chance to pass up, though.

I guess it’s fairly apt that Kelley paved the way to getting a record deal by using Napster to target his demos specifically to fans of bands he thought he sounded like, but it is to be hoped that on his next release he avoids the temptation to live in the shadow of other artists.

Josh Kelley:

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