Singer-songwriter Josh Grider knows plenty about the roads traveled in life, both literally and figuratively. On his new album Sweet Road to Ride, set for release on October 6th through United For Opportunity, Grider explores the ups and downs that accompany the life of a traveling musician. With a new lyrical outlook and new support in the form of the Josh Grider Trio, this album is the next stop in the journey of Josh Grider's musical evolution.
Following 2007’s critically acclaimed Million Miles to Go, which included the Texas Chart favorite “Crazy Like You,” Sweet Road to Ride captures the essence of life on the road and the endless roads we travel in life. These themes recur throughout the record, delivered in a voice that is at times optimistic, desolate, poignant and innocent. The album was recorded with Mark Addison at Austin's Aerie Studios, allowing Grider to stay true to his Texas roots while broadening his horizons and exploring a plethora of other musical genres.
The Josh Grider Trio is more than a singer-songwriter plus a rhythm section. Comprised of Austin musicians Chris Grady (upright bass) and Jeff Botta (drums and percussion), the individuals that make up the Trio have all contributed to crafting the new direction or, as they look at it, natural evolution of Josh Grider’s sound. Grider’s lyrics are still the sort that stop you short when you fully realize their intensity, but they breathe more easily in the trio format.
Musically, the Trio provides the freedom to explore other sounds and ideas, like Latin, funk and jazz, while opening up more space for bluesy improvisation and powerful harmonies.
"Texas music, country music, folk music and rock - it is all American music, and speaks to life in America and beyond, whether you live in Austin or New England or Alaska," says Grider.
From rock, pop and soul to ’70s folk, gospel, blues and even funk, the various stylistic elements Grider uses expands the Texas country and Americana foundation without straying too far from his core Austin sound roots.
This playful exploration of styles can be heard clearly in the James Brown inspired “Sometimes,” in the dark, swinging, Tom Waits-ish dirge of “Love Went Wrong” and in the reggae and calypso elements of “Halfway There."
The bittersweet road theme is evident in the album’s first song, “Here With Me,” a song Grider co-wrote with Texas legend Walt Wilkins.
Says Grider, “My heart is for two things, my family and my music. The road divides it.”
This song sets the tone for the entire album. The album’s first single, “Great Divide,” details the struggle between the heart and the mind and sees Grider embarking on the classic struggle of deciding which path to choose. Josh Grider may not have resolved the inner conflicts of artists and he may not have made clear whether his road is a road of sorrow and loneliness or a road to the top with good times at each stop on the way. What he has done is crafted an album that explores these universal issues, inviting listeners to reflect on their own personal experiences and join him on that Sweet Road to Ride.
10/06/2009 - Marble Falls, TX - River City Grille
10/08/2009 - College Station, TX - Schotzi's
10/10/2009 - The Woodlands, TX - Dosey Doe Coffee Shop
10/15/2009 - San Antonio, TX - Sam's Burger Joint
10/20/2009 - Aledo, TX - Railhead Smokehouse
10/22/2009 - New Braunfels, TX - Gruene Hall
10/23/2009 - Dallas, TX - Adair's Saloon
10/24/2009 - San Angelo, TX - Blaine's Pub
10/30/2009 - Santa Fe, NM - Santa Fe Brewing Company
10/31/2009 - Amarillo, TX - Hoot's Pub
11/10/2009 - Charlotte, NC - Double Door
11/11/2009 - Columbia, SC - The White Mule