“SONG FOR EWE”
with JOSH T. PEARSON
“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest was one of three Texas boys busy minding their own business when the angel of the Lord came down to the “The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads” (2001) as part of Lift To Experience, a band that combined shoe gaze with post rock, classical composition with Pentecostal epiphanies.
He was then “Last Of The Country Gentlemen” (2011), complete with a beard of a length and straggly-ness that was proto-Shoreditch, singing songs of great levity and portent that were long in length and long of face. Because making that album was so wrought with emotion, he had to take quite a bit of time away to recover and regroup, and now he’s back.
He’s swapped the black clobber for a dapper white suit, the facial hair is upscaled with a dashing pencil moustache and the bleeding emotion has been partially supplanted with cow-punk roister-doistering bar-room abandon with a set of emphatic and short pop songs called “The Straight Hits!” And they are a real, brilliant rush. As is having him here on these pages, welcome to Velvet Sheep, Mr. Josh T. Pearson!
“The Straight Hits!” isn’t your regular common-or-garden rock record, Josh imposed his own song writing manifesto to make it a concept album of sorts…tossed off the shiny belt-buckled hip according to these rules:
Josh T. Pearson’s The Five Pillars:
1) All songs must have a verse, a chorus and a bridge.
2) The lyrics must run 16 lines or less.
3) They must have the word ‘straight’ in the title.
4) That title must be four words or less.
5) They must submit to song above all else. (“You do as she tells you, whatever the song tells you,” Pearson explains. “You bend to her, and not her to you.”).
It makes it not only fun, but bloody great, an album of real adrenaline fuelled abandon plus the occasional joyous or fragile beauty that you’ve come to expect from Josh and his various incarnations.
Hot off the press today is a brand new video for rambunctious bar-room brawl of a ballad “Straight At Me”…directed by Fidel Ruiz-Healy and Tyler Walker of the American Standard Film Co. who explain “the video is a love story following two characters from bar room to marriage as seen through the lens of the Lone Star State’s history and TV stations…” enjoy the ride…and plenty more unexpected T. Pearson characters besides. Who knew Josh was so funny?! (though to be fair, the signs were there even in sardonic lyrics of some of his bleakest songs)…
Onto today’s other business, here is a sound clip of Josh choosing his tune for Velvet Sheep in the flesh/from the vocal chord for full Texan drawl (during a recent interview with Nick from VS – which will also spawn Josh T. Pearson’s Bakers Dozen for The Quietus – watch out for that soon). In the meantime, without further ado, over to Josh for his “song for ewe”…(complete with some super low bass notes sung by the Texas Gentleman himself)…
And here’s the transcript should you prefer that…
“Elvis “Sweet Sweet Spirit” done in Las Vegas, it’s a live clip where JD Sumner is singing as the background, and it’s phenomenal, it’ll knock you off your socks.
A lot of these YouTube clips that are popping up from the live things are just so much more impactful than the record because they’ve been running it so many times live and it captures the band playing at their top most game.
So that song, just put headphones on and turn your phone off.
JD Sumner I think is in the Guinness World Records as having the lowest recorded singing voice or something. You listen to him do the intro and it doesn’t sound that low and then you do it and then you realise he’s doing an octave lower than your lowest note and it’s pretty cool. He’s part of The Stamps Quartet that sing gospel. He was part of Elvis’ group.
Elvis loved gospel music, he’d sing it after the shows and stuff. I remember a story about him just playing and making the boys sit around and sing gospel after the shows because he felt so baaad, I don’t know, because he loved gospel music, but that song it’s awesome when everything kicks in.
He does a Kris Kristofferson song too in that same setting “Why Me Lord” which is awesome, “why me lord, what did I ever do?” actually I think that’s the one I want you to do, can you do that one instead.
When that comes in, yeah do “Why Me Lord”, fuck Sweet Sweet Spirit, it’s awesome.
Kris Kristofferson wrote it and he did a version and when the bass comes in… JD Sumner introduces that too. Yeah this song is super cool, live in Memphis 1974 – that’s it, perfect. So this is me (sings) it’s an octave lower than that. I don’t want to ruin it, but when it kicks in, god dang it’s awesome – “Why Me Lord” recorded in Memphis in 1974 the year I was born, blood on the floor in ’74…perfect…”
Also, Josh is on a UK and European Tour right now – with a band that features Lift To Experience drummer Andy Young and with support from Heartless Bastards.
tonight in Birmingham…!
Here are all the dates, including a newly announced slot at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival on 1 June…
16 May – UK, Birmingham The Glee Club18 May – IE, Dublin Whelans19 May – UK, Glasgow Art School20 May – UK, Manchester Gorilla22 May – UK, London Islington Assembly Hall24 May – FR, Paris La Maroquinerie26 May – BE, Belgium Rotonde Botanique27 May – NL, Amsterdam Bitterzoet28 May – DE, Cologne Gebäude 929 May – DE, Hamburg Knust30 May – DE, Berlin Quasimodo1 June – ES, Barcelona Primavera Sound Festival (Hidden Stage)4 June – SE, Stockholm Kagelbanen5 June – DK, Copenhagen DR Koncerthuset Studio 36 June – NO, Oslo Parkteatret24-25 Aug – UK, Sea Change Festival30 Aug-2 Sep – UK, End of the Road festival
THANKS TO JOSH, AND TO ZOE MILLER AT ZOPF PR