Album Review

Josh Nolan - Fair City Lights

 - Error

It may appear I’ve been a little fixated on Kentucky’s music scene as of late but, as the hotbed of brimming talent keeps on pooling, I am more than delighted to introduce another one.  Lexington-based singer-songwriter Josh Nolan recently released an impressive debut record, Fair City Lights, a few months back. It's an effort put out independently by Nolan himself that originally began as a fan-funded project. His confidence in his material provoked him to follow through on his record by any means necessary. I’m surely grateful for his perseverance. 

At first listen, especially Springsteen junkies will notice a similarity to their hero.  Most notably due to vocal delivery or even song content…I can hear it, but I also hear a voice and style that is all Josh Nolan.  “Do It Right” sets the course for Fair City Lights in proper fashion, a felicitous ballad featuring Nolan and his acoustic guitar--“If you’re gonna lead me on, that’s alright, If you’re gonna do me wrong, do it right.” There’s a great deal of depth to Nolan’s songwriting.  Well-crafted songs, both lyrically and musically, abound in the record.

“East KY Skyline” is a full band gem--equal parts rock and blues with a hypnotizing harp chorus that’s blown out with heart and soul. This is another example of the songwriting prowess Nolan holds at such a young age. There must be something in the Kentucky well water as it seems a never ending breeding ground of talented song writers.

“Til the Words Run Out” is a saxophone-accompanied Springsteen-esque rock song that might as well have been played on stage at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J. circa 1973, which holds true on the closing gem, too. That pinnacle of feel-good rock and roll leads into the album closer, “Between The Lights." It's a song about cherishing the moment with that significant other in swell times, enjoying a mason jar of strawberry wine and each other’s company. A sultry, if not haunting, fiddle fill in the mix sends the closing song straight to your soul and right back out again: “I can feel her in my soul / she looks like rock and roll / she sounds like Mr. Coltrane’s saxophone.” Hot damn, I love that lyric. Write on, Mr. Nolan, write on.

Josh Nolan has some summer shows scheduled in the Southeast this summer in support of Fair City Lights.  There are shows in Kentucky, Nashville, and also Huntsville, Ala., in the mix thus far.  His summer tour leads into a stellar line-up of artists and beer, Well Crafted-Local Brews+Local Bands at Shaker Village in Harrodsburg, Ky., on August 8 and 9, 2014.  A line-up featuring local talent the likes of Doc Feldman, Tyler Childers, and Those Crosstown Rivals,  John Moreland, Austin Lucas, headlined by Lucero’s Ben Nichols…I could go on, but if you’re a fan of this fine form of American music, your head will spin. My only advice is get a ticket and get involved. Visit Josh Nolan’s website at link below for tour dates and you can also pick up a copy of the album on iTunes. It’s important to support independent artists, help them to thrive and get great music like what’s on Fair City Lights out there and into people’s ears.

*** Please visit Sad Songs Keep The Devil Away at for more musings*** +Words by Scott Zuppardo+