As bass player, co-songwriter and occasional vocalist for Pittsburgh favourites The Clarks, Greg Joseph’s debut solo album was a highly anticipated release for the band’s legions of fans. But American Diary is a sharp left turn away from high-tempo blue collar rock into the genres of Americana, country and quirky pop.
The low-key opener, “Mississippi Mud,” and the refreshingly diverse “Tropical Depression” are clear evidence that American Diary is definitely not a repeat of Joseph’s writing contributions to The Clarks. Although “Porches, Jesus and Jeans” and the raucous “The Morning After” hint at his back catalogue, the melancholic strains of “Two Suits,” “The List” and “Simon’s Window” define the overall tone of this album. Long before the stripped-down and atmospheric “Down The Aisle” closes proceedings, fans of The Clarks will have judged American Diary: its wry examination of all aspects of American life will captivate those with patience and an open mind, but possibly disappoint those expecting the instantaneous melodic heights of Joseph’s day-job band. However, the heart, honesty and sincerity Joseph ploughs into his music means it ought to be the former rather than the latter reaction.
Greg Joseph: www.gregjosephmusic.com