Artist: Joshua Hedley
Album: Mr. Jukebox
Label: Third Man Records
Genre: Classic Country, Traditional Country
Well, we’ve come to the very last review of the year, folks! I’d tell you I have another good one for you, but who am I kidding? I’d never give y’all an album I wouldn’t listen to personally, so here’s one of my absolute favourites. From its album art to its production, Mr. Jukebox is bound to send you into a tailspin of nostalgia. Had I not mentioned that this record was released earlier this year, you surely would have been led to believe that it had come out fifty or sixty years ago, and that’s exactly the way I like my new country—old.
I purposefully saved this album for last because I wanted to showcase how well something can be done when executed absolutely right. Joshua Hedley packs a surefire punch of classic country with this one, and I want to shout it from the rooftops to the entire country music community and then some. Hedley has recreated something with this record that I had always hoped but never thought would come back around. It’s incredibly unique in the current climate of country music, but Hedley, a country purist, didn’t hold back one single bit. You can tell that he had a clear vision when he set out to record his debut album and he brought the entire thing to life splendidly.
From what I’ve been able to find on Hedley, he’s known as Nashville’s “Mr. Jukebox” with his extensive knowledge of the genre and endless catalogue of songs he plays down on Broadway. While I could certainly sit and listen to the man sing all day long in that buttery baritone and fluttery vibrato, I’d also love to sit down and chat with the fellow. I’m sure he could teach me a thing or two… or three, or four about country music. First round’s on me, Sir. Don’t you worr, I’ve got plenty of nickles and dimes.
Understandably, the album’s title-track “Mr. Jukebox” was what initially caught my attention, but when I realized that what I was hearing wasn’t a fluke and that the entire album had that same air, I was hooked. The next song that really caught my attention was “These Walls.” Any country song about walls is always going to remind me of Faron Young’s hit “Hello Walls,” which is never a bad thing. Ever. So, if you know that one, then you’ll definitely understand what I mean when I say that the entire album has that same spirit about it.
There’s just one song on this ten song record that wasn’t written by Hedley. He closes out the album with a touching tribute to his father—a cover of Disney’s “When You Wish Upon a Star.” His father passed away three years ago and unfortunately never had the chance to see Hedley’s dreams come to fruition. “We spent a lot of Christmases at Disney World,” he explains of the song pick. “When I was searching for a cover song, it dawned on me that my dad didn’t get to see any of this happen, but he always wanted it.” I love that, don’t you just love that?
Alright, time to go, y’all! Why are you still here at this point?! Go listen to the record for yourself already! The longer I keep yackin’ at you here, the faster you’ll lose interest. Go on now, giddy up, Bronco!
Favourite songs: Mr. Jukebox, These Walls, This Time, Let Them Talk, When You Wish Upon a Star