Way Out Here
Josh Thompson is an outlaw with a conscience. On his 2010 debut album Way Out Here, the Wisconsin-born country newcomer flashes his rebel credentials with gusto, yet never loses sight of old-fashioned American values. Thompson wrote or co-wrote all of the tunes and there's plenty of backwoods pride and defiance here, especially in “Blame It on Waylon” (a tip of the hat to Josh’s maverick influences) and the title tune (a truculent number loaded with Skynyrd-style attitude). For the most part though, Thompson seems more interested in looking for a party than a fight, as “Won’t Be Lonely Long” and the single “Beer On the Table” show. Romance comes hot (“You Ain’t Seen Country Yet”) and sweet (“Back Around”), delivered by Josh with straightforward small-town charm. “Sinner”— a believer’s eloquent confession of his failings and faith — may be the album’s strongest cut overall. Thompson wins points for avoiding bombast and keeping things real. Way Out Here makes up for its lack of glitz with solid songwriting, heartfelt singing and a sense of integrity overall.