Ari Joshua / Country Stroll / Single Review


Strap on your metaphorical boots, crank up the volume, and let Ari Joshua lead you on a “Country Stroll,” head bopping, toe tapping, feeling the sun on your skin, the wind in your hair, and the urge to twirl with abandon.

Ari Joshua’s latest, “Country Stroll,” isn’t just a casual meander through musical fields; it’s a genre-defying stampede, led by a guitar slinger with a restless spirit, a deep well of twang, and a homage to the legendary Bill Frisell. Joshua, an award-winning composer and sonic alchemist, assembles a dream team of improvisational titans – John Medeski on organ and Billy Martin on drums – and together they forge music that defies categorization, all while tipping their hats to Frisell’s genre-bending legacy.

The track opens with a sly swagger, snare rolls whispering promises of adventure before blooming into a full-blown country-blues romp. Joshua’s guitar dances between sun-drenched melodies and gritty riffs, effortlessly navigating the shifting terrain of the song. This is a joyous sprint through musical pastures, punctuated by flourishes of jazz improvisation and the occasional detour into ragtime territory.

Medeski’s organ soars like a benevolent spirit, creating smokey swirls of sound color on the canvas. His solos are flowing and fascinating, demonstrating taste and restraint. And then there’s Martin’s drumming, a restless pulse that propels the song onward with captivating zeal. His solo explodes into a kaleidoscope of rhythm, demonstrating both strength and finesse.

The interplay between these musicians is nothing short of mesmerizing; they breathe fire into Joshua’s composition, transforming it into a shared artistic pilgrimage, all while carrying the torch of Frisell’s collaborative spirit. Joshua’s infectious enthusiasm for this project is solid. He calls “Country Stroll” a “celebration of the beauty of the natural world and the simple joys of life,” and that spirit shines through in every note. It’s music that makes you want to kick off your shoes, spin around in a dusty field, and bask in the sun’s warm embrace.

The production deserves its own applause. Chris Bittner’s engineering at Applehead Recording captures the raw energy of the trio while maintaining a warm, inviting atmosphere. Ed Brooks’ mastering polishes the track to a high sheen, and Ari Raskin’s mixing ensures every instrument gets its moment to shine. Paul Delaney’s artwork is a delight – a whimsical vibrant landscape that complements the music’s evocative imagery.

“Country Stroll” is a genre-defying classic-bound track that marries the warmth of Americana with the improvisational spirit of jazz, all delivered with meticulous craftsmanship and boundless artistic spirit.

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