After a cryptic tease on social media earlier this week, blues guitar star Josh Smith has announced his new album Bird of Passage, which is scheduled to arrive April 8.
It will be Smith’s first studio album since 2018’s Burn to Grow, which was followed by 2020’s Live at the Spud.
Accompanying the announcement is the effort’s lead single, Brand New, which employs an oversized horn section that sounds cherry-picked from a ‘50s concert hall, and a smorgasbord of Smith’s silky six-string tones.
Ever the master of harking back to old-school blues while decorating his playing with his own unique style, Smith supplies fans of the genre with just about everything they’d hope for in Brand New. There’s a bit of BB King in there, what with the sublime bends on show, as well as a boatload of tasty interlude licks.
The solo is Smith all over, though, and flexes his spellbinding navigation skills around the pentatonic scale and its neighboring areas, gliding from box to box with classy blues turnarounds and clever string-hopping motifs.
Breaking the news on social media, Smith wrote, “I've been waiting to release this for quite a while. I'm incredibly proud of the album. More than anything else I've ever released. It features my brothers [drummer] Carl Carter and [bassist] Calvin Turner and the amazing [organist] Larry Goldings.
“I can't wait for everyone to hear the whole album,” he continued. “It was recorded and mixed impeccably by my brother Alan Hertz and mastered by my friend [The Bakery audio mastering].”
Smith concluded the post by saying he will talk more about the concept, the songs and the album “in the coming weeks”.
The tracklist for Bird of Passage can be found below.
- Brand New
- Hopeless Quarters
- Fat Hair
- Rare Plus
- The Wayfarer
- Unauthorized Cinnamon
Though it’s the first time in a while he’s tracked his own record, Smith has seen plenty of studio action over the past 18 months. With the help of Joe Bonamassa, Smith has overseen production duties for Joanne Shaw Taylor’s The Blues Album and Joanna Connor’s 4801 South Indiana Avenue.
The pair also teamed up with Eric Gales to produce the bluesman’s latest studio effort, Crown.
- Bird of Passage (opens in new tab) is available to preorder now ahead of its April 8 release.