Joshua McClain – Coming Home

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Joshua McClain is best known for his unbridled and mesmerizing solo performances using a looping pedal and effects processor, creating intense, otherworldly soundscapes. Regarded as one of the top artists in the Bay Area, Joshua was voted Musician of the year at RAW Awards.
His album – Coming Home, can be considered a single work of music, and my first definitive opus, meant to be listened to from start to finish – part of a comprehensive and connected journey. The lead voice of the cello can be considered a personification of both the larger mythological idea of the hero as well as his own journey – or yours.

Coming Home, follows the concept of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, which for some might be a familiar narrative, others not. And if not, it could introduce you to it, but the music which is mostly instrumental, which do the business on its own merit, more importantly. It doesn’t matter if you’re savvy to it or not, these songs are too good to leave to the concept alone. Each track deserves some kind-of mention or full on description, but it’s a lot to cover in this limited space and still reveal some background on the artist. So, the tracks are as follows, with a give or take amount of details.

“Journey” is rather subtle compared to most of the songs, but it sets the mood up just on the way to the final-destination. Joshua McCalain is no newcomer to the scene, so expect nothing but fireworks here when it comes to his all-out solo efforts. He should be on the way to bigger things for himself with this album, if the wind carries it far enough, as it should. “A New World Begins” and it’s a little more reflective of what’s really going on with the album in terms of tempo. It’s-actually a fabulous shot of everything this artist is made of, to keep the interest flowing on this record, with some exquisite playing.

The concept keeps moving forward with “Spirit Guides” showing a different side with a lot more textures involved. This song is very tribal and contains a wordless, mystifying vocal melody. It’s a soulful, spooky track that takes the concept to another level with a holy ambience. You can take it in for your own self-awareness, relate it to the actual hero’s journey or apply it to your own life. This is something that I can’t see not hitting home with most. But the songs aren’t built around any commercial structure, so make sure to dig into this one for sure, it’s one of the more interesting pieces.

“A Storm On The Horizon” keeps you focused on the plot as it thickens throughout the eight songs that play like one epic concept without skipping a faction of a beat. And the rest of the tracks stand on their own feet together on a solid foundation with the aforementioned- tracks which all meet the soundscape criteria of artists of the past like King Crimson and even Pink Floyd to some degree. But that’s just my taste, the roots are more folk and less popular music-based. It’s just a flavor worth mentioning the class in which Joshua McClain fits on this well-crafted concept CD.

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Alan Foster