CD Review: Joal Rush “Kaleidoscope Emotions”

It was back in 2004 that singer-songwriter Joal Rush released his first EP. That EP, entitled Delightful Things, introduced the world to a musician whose straight-out Rock and Roll sound was very reminiscent to that of Jack Johnson. And given that the two artists create their songs using several different genres of music as influences such as Folk, Pop, Rock and Soul, it is a safe comparison to be made when describing the sound of Joal Rush.

Almost fifteen years later, Joal Rush has been through a lot, including moving from Charleston, South Carolina to Music City, Nashville, Tennessee where he currently lives. And within that city, Rush created his latest album of music. The current release from Joal Rush is a twelve-song release entitled Kaleidoscope Emotions.

Kaleidoscope Emotions from Joal Rush begins with the track “Gotta Getaway”. Right from the beginning, the listener can hear the comparison between Joal Rush and Jack Johnson. But there is also a strong hint of John Mayer in the mix, as well, helping to create a Pop/Rock vibe in the song. The guitar/organ combination adds to that pop/rock approach. Plus, the lyrical content of the song is so infectious that the words are very easy to sing along with. “Gotta Getaway” has such a strong commercial feel to it that you can easily imagine the track getting heavy rotation on any pop/rock or Top 40 radio format.

“Miss Mel,” the second track on Kaleidoscope Emotions from Joal Rush, changes the direction of the music. Whereas “Gotta Getaway” would remind listeners of Jack Johnson, “Miss Mel” would easily remind them of the band Hootie and the Blowfish. In fact, the track actually feels more like something that would have come from singer-songwriter, guitarist and former “Blowfish” Mark Bryan from his post- Hootie and the Blowfish career. A lot like “Gotta Getaway,” “Miss Mel” sounds like it would fit right in on any Top 40 radio format. Plus, the song contains enough of a twang that it might even fit into the “crossover” category for Country music formats.

As you allow the newest album from Joal Rush to play out, you’ll notice that the songs all feel very familiar…in a good way. After listening to a track like “Lesson I’ll Never Learn” one time, you’ll find yourself singing right along with Rush the very next time you play the track. “Lesson I’ll Never Learn” is a track with a slow tempo that contains a rather soulful delivery to both the music and the vocal delivery from Rush. It’s a track like this that makes listening to albums fun: While the track may not make its way onto the radio because it’s not commercial enough, it will end up being one of the tracks you’ll  return to time and again.

While many of the tracks on the newest release from Joal Rush feel custom-made for today’s radio, the track “My Moonshine” finds him creating a more timeless musical approach to the track. The track’s sound takes the listener back to the seventies when songs that contain the same Folk-Rock approach were filling up the AM radio dial. “My Moonshine” contains a sound that brings to mind the music of artists such as John Denver, Neil Young, even B.W. Stevenson. While the track may not be right for today’s radio, “My Moonshine” could have been very popular a few decades ago.

To go along with the retro feel of “My Moonshine,” the track “Darlin’ Stay” contains a musical approach that would be right at home within the Americana genre of today. While most of the track contains a Folk-Rock sound, it’s the addition of the drum loops on the track that add a quality that sets the track apart from most of the Folk-Rock music out there today. “Darlin’ Stay” is yet another track on the Kaleidoscope Emotions album that will have the listener hitting the repeat button over and over again on their favorite listening device.

While there are many standout tracks on Kaleidoscope Emotions from Joal Rush, the listener has to wait until the very end of the album to find one of the best tracks on the release. The album’s final track (and the album’s “title track”), “Rose Colored Glasses,” is one of the shining moments of the release. With a musical approach that brings to mind artists like John Mayer, Jack Johnson and others, the track is just right for Top 40 radio. The optimism contained within the lyrics of the track makes “Rose Colored Glasses” a strong track to end the album with as the track brings the release to a close an a positive note.

While there are many people in the music industry being played on the radio today who deserved to be signed to a major label, there are just as many out there right now who are not signed to a major label and deserve to be. One such artist who deserves to be on a major label is Joal Rush. And his newest album entitled Kaleidoscope Emotions proves that point rather well.

 

To check out the music of Joal Rush, check out the “title track” to the Kaleidoscope Emotions album, “Rose Colored Glasses”. 

 

To purchase a copy of Kaleidoscope Emotions from Joal Rush, click on the album cover below: