When RCA Records Nashville recording artist Josh Thompson first came on the scene a few years ago, I had a few pretty harsh words for him, calling him a “fake Outlaw” and specifically taking exception to his name dropping of Waylon Jennings, saying:
Waylon Jennings died for your sins Josh, and all of the sins of country music. And until you can understand what a TRUE Outlaw is, and especially if you’re just going to use it as some marketing term, I wish you’d keep the name Waylon Jennings out of your damn mouth.
At the time, Josh Thompson seemed to embody the worst of the emerging crop of “new Outlaws” Music Row was manufacturing to capitalize on the anti-Nashville, anti-country pop sentiment that was brewing in mainstream fandom. His over-machismo douchebaggery and immature songs were worthy of the utmost ridicule.
Then over the last few months I began to see his name pop up more and more in connection with interesting projects and events, and hearing some people whose opinions I tend to respect talking about Josh in terms like being “surprisingly impressed” or that he was showing signs of “maturing”, some in connection with festivities surrounding the recent release of Waylon: The Music Inside Vol.2 of which his cover of “Love of the Common People” appears on.
Now Josh has released this “Comin’Around” song and subsequent video ahead of his upcoming sophomore album Change, and I can see why it’s making some folks come around on Josh himself. Don’t get me wrong, it could all still be a ruse. One marketing idea might be getting swapped for another marketing idea here. My eyes are wide open and my antennae perked. But when I was hard on Josh Thompson, I also promised I would be fair, and it would be unfair to say anything but that this song displays both growth and substance.
I don’t love this song, I’m still nowhere close to a Josh Thompson supporter, and I’m not exactly sure what that weird thing is behind him in the video. But even if this is the effect of a marketing move, this song is a much better direction for Josh, and the ears of real music fans will bleed a little bit less when this comes on compared to some of his previous work, and compared to a lot of mainstream country music in general.