Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal – Do It Now
Silver Street Records – 2018
10 tracks; 48 minutes
The Nebraska-based soul band returns with their fourth album and it’s a sure winner for anyone who likes soul-blues. Josh has a great voice for this sort of music and the horn-rich arrangements are terrific. Josh wrote all the material (with a nod for ‘creative contributions’ from the rest of the band). Josh plays keys and baritone sax, Blake DeForest is on trumpet, Benjamin Kushner guitar, Mike Keeling bass and Larell Ware drums; not surprisingly, when you hear the album, everyone contributes backing vocals. Other musicians involved are Mike Dee on tenor sax, Justin G Jones on Latin percussion and no fewer than fourteen backing vocalists dubbed ‘The Heartland Soul Choir’. Josh produced the album which was recorded in two Nebraska studios by James Fleege.
The band sets out its stall with the title track which has an excellent horn chart underpinned by wah-wah guitar stylings as Josh encourages us to keep learning. A love letter to “Clara Jane” is a gentler affair with twinkling electric piano as Josh expresses his love and admiration for this lady and Josh is looking to “chill a while” with a lady (possibly the same person?) in “Better Days”, a lilting ballad with a superb trumpet solo and full choir vocals sitting behind Josh’s emotional singing on the outro. “Tell Me Why” starts off in gospel acapella mode before a powerful horn arrangement on another ballad that asks why it is so hard to see the light. “Star Culture” features some edgy guitar as Josh sings about the excessive interest in media celebrity before the band takes a funkier approach with horns and latin percussion on “You, I, We (All Together Now)”, Josh even adding a short rap-influenced section.
“The Other Side” is classic soul with a great chorus, the horns playing superbly over Josh’s warm keys and, as the choir enters the later part of the song the song really takes off. Latin trumpet opens the next track and that feel continues with plenty of percussion once the vocals begin, Josh asking why there is not “Enough For Everybody”, Benjamin adding a Santana-influenced solo before Josh’s piano takes us home on the longest on the disc, the final section having a very Stevie Wonder feel. That track is excellent but possibly the standout cut is “Love Song”, a gorgeous ballad which has lots of classy soul as the band gives brilliant support to Josh who expresses his admiration: “Want to know how to live forever from the dusk till the dawn, you live your life like a love song.” The track is powerful and emotional and the band knocks it out of the park in just 3.34 – terrific! The album closes with “The Liberator”, another song about love’s power, which ends rather abruptly, almost as if someone pulled the plug on the band!
There are not a lot of bands out there making this sort of deep soul music so if your tastes run to soul this album is definitely recommended.