As I’ve got older one of the eternal struggles I’ve had with music is thinking, probably over thinking, how I define what good music is. The problem for me is do I think (or feel) that something is great just because it reminds me of something else from the past that I also liked? Am I becoming too set in my ways? And if I am is there anything wrong with this? Possibly not, but then on the other hand, if a person just sticks to what they know and defines that as good, then as music changes and evolves, is there the potential to miss out on something incredible, simply because it doesn’t fit with a predefined definition of what is good?
If good music is something that can broadly be defined as something that moves me, is it possible to become less moved over time if I’m just listening to the same old same old over and over again? Is falling into a musical comfort zone a dangerous thing?
If it is, then today I’m happy to dwell in that comfort zone for Blood Drive, the new song from Northern Irish singer songwriter Joshua Burnside, reminds me of an awful lot of things I like. The song may take a soft folkish tone, but structurally it sounds an awful lot like something The National (makers of one of my favourite rock records of the last couple of decades) might make. There’s also comparisons to be made with the plucked melodies of Stornoway (another favourite), early Bon Iver (two albums that I cherish) or Jose Gonzalez. It’s a beautifully soothing and evocative piece of song craft and is taken from Burnside’s forthcoming album Ephrata, released on the 5th May via Quiet Arch Records.
The album itself was written in just a few weeks whilst Burnside lived in northern Colombia with his cousin and finds him absorbing a wide range of musical references which include alt-folk, traditional Irish folk, South American and Eastern European influences and bands such as Sun Kil Moon, Dirty Three, Talking Heads and The Cure.
Burnside plays a small handful of shows around the time of the album launch which include shows in Glasgow, London, Ballycastle, Derry and Dublin.
Joshua Burnside - Blood Drive