Joe Young is a singer/songwriter from Portsmouth, NH who recently released his second full-length entitled Old Hope. It’s apparent after the first song or two that Young is not only a talented singer and guitar player but excels at songwriting as well. The album is an organic experience relying on strings - whether they are guitar, cello or mandolin.There is very little percussion (or much instrumentation at all) present on this album as Young decided to have it stripped down so it sounded closer to what the songs were like when he wrote them in his home.
Young has a strong, masculine as well commercially viable voice. He stays within the range he feels comfortable, which is usually a lower register that doesn't involve stressing his vocal chords. Not only can he sing but he is an accomplished guitar player who excels at picking. This is apparent right off the bat with the song “Get It Right.” The additional guitar parts are ornaments on a very sturdy foundation. Oh and how can you not appreciate his brief yet effective whistling part.
“Somebody” is a jovial, hopeful number that feels warm and comforting. There is also a sense of nostalgia present in the song that makes it one of the standouts on the album. “Comin’ Home” is an excellent song with one of the most memorable vocal melodies on the album. Young sings “comin’ home to you” on top of the warm strings of guitar and cello. It also is one of the few songs that contains some percussion if however sparse being just a kick drum.
“Give Me Hope” may have the best guitar picking on the album while “You’ll Be Fine” contains a fair amount of melancholy.
Young has a ubiquitous sound that a lot of people will find appealing. The songs on Old Hope are simple yet heartfelt.
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