Josh Kelley live @ The Borderline, London 13/09/16 Reviewed

On a hot sultry, September night, we went to London to see Josh Kelley. To get us off to a good start, the trains were against us! We arrived at the station, paid the parking, paid for our tickets only to discover the train was cancelled. As we stood there watching the board, the train after ours was also cancelled! An announcement came over the system (this was an un-manned station!) saying that the train before the one we had been hoping to catch was 114 minutes late! We stood there in the sun, umming & arhhing as to what to do. We had time as we were meeting friends before the gig, but we still had to get to London.

They then announced stand clear of the platform, the next train does not stop here. So we decided to jump back in the car & head for a different station on a different line in the hope of getting there. As we pulled out of the car park, guess what…. the train DID indeed stop!! We sat there fuming as we watched people get off & indeed 2 people run up & get on!!

Got to the alternative station, queued up to ask if our tickets were still valid or if we had to get different tickets, the ticket guy looked at me as if I was speaking Double Dutch! He had no idea what I was on about, all this with a train to London due in 3 minutes! In the end we thought we would chance it, got to the platform just in time to hear the announcement that there was a signal failure at London Bridge as a result all tickets would be valid on alternative routes!! Nearly an hour later than planned, we were en route!!

This was my 1st visit to Borderline, the location is so easy, just 2 minutes’ walk from Tottenham Court Road tube station, ideal. Good venue, if not a little oddly shaped, but provides a good Merch’ area.

The lovely Laura Oakes was the support, I like it when American acts come over and have UK acts as their support. The night before in Glasgow, Raintown had been the support. This is my 4th time of seeing Laura & every time she impresses me more. Not only is she always dressed to impress, she also ensures her band are dressed the same – not as her, that would just look daft, but they were all dressed in black.

She started with a new track which was made available to stream on Facebook midday, that day. The track is called Going Somewhere. Trouble was they didn’t have the sound right at all, all you could hear was the band, you could see Laura was singing & you could hear a voice, but the rest was just garbled. It was a disappointing start. Fortunately the sound guy was straight on to it & for the next track Dreaming, it was sorted & we could hear Laura in all her glory!

To introduce the next track, Laura said as she was growing up she looked forward to being an adult, thinking it would happen when she got to 18. When she got to 18 she didn’t feel any different, so she thought oh well, when I am 21. At 21 she still didn’t feel any different and decided everyone was making it up about being an adult, so she wrote Snakes & Ladders about this period.

Her next song was written especially for her by her guitarist. She said he came to her one day & said “I have written a song for you.” We all ‘ahhhhhd’. She said “I know, I thought that, I said I didn’t think anyone had ever written a song for me”. He then apparently completely ruined the moment when he said “It is called Lazy!” It is a great number about how a person isn’t Lazy, they just make it look easy, the slogan infact on her tee shirts!

For Whatever You Want, Laura started by singing solo, with the band standing quiet, she has such a powerful voice, without being overwhelming, you can just get lost in her melodies! After the 1st verse the band joined back in.

Laura then said she has been busy recording new music and she has a new EP coming out very soon, Better in Blue Jeans (which is not the Neil Diamond version) will be one of the tracks on this EP. The final song was Cry Your Own Tears, from Laura’s 1st, self-titled EP.lauraoakes

Laura did not disappoint (apart from the 1st song, which was a shame bearing in mind it is the new one!) She looked fabulous with a rhinestone top, little shorts & cowboy boots. I spoke to her afterwards & she said as a Dolly Parton fan, what else COULD she wear!! I did ask if she would take me shopping with her next time! She admitted it was tricky sometimes!

After a short break it was time for Josh. He came on stage and it was just him & his guitar, which was slightly odd after Laura & her band, he looked lonely! Not for long! He said he was up for a laugh tonight & he hoped we were, by the cheer he got, I think the answer was yes! He said the 1st song was going to be his sound check song, One Foot in the Grave and everything was sounding great.

He told us when this tour was arranged his wife (Katherine Heigl) was supposed to be come with him but and in the end she couldn’t make it. As a result it is him and his manager, 2 dudes in Europe drinking lots of beer! He explained that his wife is pregnant (probably why she isn’t with him!) they already have two little girls who are they adopted, then his wife fell pregnant. He said don’t trust an app, the app had no flowers, instead there were flowers everywhere!!

He then went into Loves You Like Me which is a new track and a very beautiful love song. The next song is apparently known to get people pregnant so we were told if you don’t want to get pregnant you might want to take a break whilst he sang it! Masterpiece is hilarious, very funny lyrics, ending with the line “Baby, now, flip on the lights so I can see my masterpiece tonight”!

Josh had his set list at his feet which he referred to on a regular basis but that doesn’t mean to say he sang either the songs on it or in the order that they were on it, I got the impression he was making it up as he went along, the beauty of performing solo!

We were told the story of his eldest daughter Nancy Lee, who they call Naleigh for short. She was adopted at nine months old from Korea. Josh was really nervous about becoming a father to this little girl, he couldn’t believe the joy but also the responsibility of having this little child in their life. He somewhat naturally, wrote her a song. They then adopted another little girl, so he had to write a song for her too as he didn’t want to be accused of favouritism! He said he was going to sing both songs back to back and started with Naleigh’s Moon.

When he finished this song he asked if anyone had any requests. I am not sure I have ever been to a gig where the main act is asking if there is anything in particular we wanted to hear. A couple of people shouted song titles out. He was truly amazed, “How do you guys even know these songs – oh yeah, wait, the internet!”

I’m On Fire by the great Springstein was the next track. When he finished a girl at the front asked why he hadn’t sang both his girl’s songs together, to which he replied “Are you mad? I cry at animated movies, I couldn’t possibly sing both songs together, I would be a blubbering mess!” By now you are really getting to know Josh & what a lovely person he really is!

Almost Honest, was next. This is a song about infidelity. He told us that a couple had recently asked for him to sing it saying that it was their wedding song. He looked at them in amazement and said “Dude you do know that song is about infidelity don’t you?”

His next story was about courting his wife. He said he likes the word courting and he is trying to bring it back. He asked the crowd to confirm that when you are courting are you the real you or a representative? He said “You listen to every word she says you make sure your apartment is clean and tidy when she comes round, you are very attentive.” (It is well known that Josh and Katherine did not live together until after they got married). When they did get married & moved in together, Katherine was in for a real shock when the real Josh emerged! She was like who the f*** are you?? Where has Josh gone? Somewhat unsurprisingly it was the basis of many an argument but they have been together for 11 years now so they seemed to work it out. In one particular argument he & Katherine were at a real crisis point & she said “It’s your move”. What does Josh immediately think?? – Oh that’s a good song title!! He had to try to store it whilst they continued the argument. When the argument was finished he rushed off to write to the song!! It’s Your Move is going to be his next single. After he finished the song, he said that he thought Katherine was going to be mad at him because of the song but she loves him and she loves his honesty. These 2 really do sound as if they have got it together and properly!

He said he was quite sad when he was in Italy, he ordered breakfast via room service one morning. They came and set everything up but they sent two sets of everything two knives, two forks and then bought two breakfasts but it was only him. This was the cue for his next song Two Cups of Coffee.

All this talking, I mean singing was beginning to dry out Josh’s throat and he asked for a bottle of water someone handed him a bottle of water he opened it took a swig looked at the label and then said “When I drink water, I ALWAYS drink Highland Spring!!”

His next story was about a truck that his dad had when Josh was younger. He and his dad lovingly maintained this truck and it was on the understanding that Josh would have it in due course. Unfortunately his kid brother was out in the truck one day and crashed it. They were at a red light somebody hooted, his younger brother thought they were hooting because the light was green so he accelerated forward when the light wasn’t green. That was the end of that truck. Josh was heartbroken and of course had to write a song about it. Georgia Clay is however slightly different in that it is written from the angle of the truck. The song ended on a rap which was very unexpected and really very good. Again, it shows Josh’s humour, wit & intelligence.

We then had the story of Adelaide. Josh said that on the adoption form for Naleigh they had ticked the box for ‘would be willing to adopt another child’ because in his words, what sort of douche bag would not tick the box? It was however, a great surprise when four years later they were rung up and were told there was another child that needed adoption would they be interested? They said “Yes, how old is the child?” The answer was that the child was due in 20 days, they were having a newborn child in 20 days time. In fact Adelaide was early and they got her before the actual 20 days. Josh then realised he had to write Adelaide a song as well otherwise Naleigh would be growing up saying & thinking that she was daddy’s favourite! The song Cowboy Love Song was written for Adelaide & is her song.

By now I am getting really suffering from writers cramp!!

Amazing was the next song which again ended with another rap, this time I recognised several raps from several different songs even though I have never liked rap. It is incredible how Josh remembers all of those words & puts them together, especially as there were several different raps in the mix!joshkelley

He asked if there were any Bruce Hornsby fans in the audience he said the next song had been written with him in mind and Mandolin Rain actually put Josh back on the map as far as recording was concerned.

He took the obligatory selfie and lamented the fact that he didn’t have a selfie stick because there was no way he could get all of us in it.

He said he had T-shirts at the back and that they have a native Indian on he painted. He said “We built our house on native ground and the house was haunted, so I thought if I paint him he will go away, it didn’t work so I wrote it a song about him instead You Are Home To Me”.

The fifth song he ever wrote was when he was on a roll in the dorm – Gone Like That. He explained that he had written it on the piano he therefore had to read tune his brain to be able to play it on the guitar, he stood there for about 60 seconds humming to himself and then he started!

Josh asked if we were familiar with the movie Act Of Valour, his wife used the soundtrack for her foundation, he then got slightly side tracked and stared reeling off all of the animals that he and his wife have at home, chickens, goats etc. and the fact that his studio is in the yard so anybody going to the studio has to walk through all the poop from these animals. The sound track for the film Act Of Valour followed – Best Of Me.

He then explained that they now live in Utah and that a friend of his and his wife’s had a pill addiction, she was crushing the pills up and adding them to absolutely everything. One night whilst Josh was talking to his friend, the guy said only God could stop her now. Once again Josh thought shit that’s a good song title and wrote a song about it. Only God Can Stop Her Now is the last track on Josh’s latest album – New Lane Road.

Josh said “I don’t do encores, I don’t know why I just don’t so I have one more song for you in addition my guitar is dying.” Not being technical at all I don’t know why his guitar would die. He said his last song was one he wrote with his little brother, who we might have heard of, his little brother Charles happens to sing with a band called Lady Antebellum. Of course is this got a big cheer and I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who turned around and looked at their friends and said “Charles crashed the truck!!” Call It What It Is was the final song of the evening.

Josh finished by thanking us and saying what a great audience we had been and that he was definitely coming back. C2C perhaps??

I had gone to this gig as a last-minute thing, as somebody else couldn’t make it, so I was offered their ticket. I listened to some of Josh on Spotify beforehand and have to admit I was amazed at how many records he has released, also I really wasn’t very keen. I went mainly because the support was Laura, but also I was curious as to how Charles Kelly’s brother would sound. I need a stronger word than impressed! Josh was absolutely fabulous. He comes across as an absolutely wonderful guy with a cracking sense of humour. I’m sure he spent as much time telling stories as he did singing, but I can’t imagine for one moment anybody would be disappointed with that. He really is an entertainer; it was also a real treat seeing an artist like this in such an intimate venue. I am so glad I went. At the end of the night Josh hung around signing CDs tee shirts etc and taking photos. I took the opportunity to purchase a CD, have it signed, have my photo taken with him and double check that it was Charles who crashed the truck!

Photo credits – my camera but Andrew Jones (Acoustic Journey) took the photos as he was stood beside me & got exasperated with my photography skills!!

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