Meet Josh Sangster: musician, guitar player extraordinaire, and…paramedic. If you live in the New Brunswick area in Canada, be sure to say hello – and tell him that his four-track album This Is A Demonstration is a rather impressive work of art. Also, we’d like to know when he plans to release his next one.
Listening to his album was an interesting experience. I noticed that like a few people I’ve seen play an instrument and sing at the same time, Sangster often will slow down the instrument for the vocals, allowing the guitar to come back full force to display the melody in periods of vocal silence. This allows the listener to fully appreciate both sides of the equation when listening to the song. It also showcases his strumming skills, which caused me to take double takes on more than one occasion.
“Human Condition” has some blues soul, starting off softly and subtly. I have to say when the song hit rock proportions, I was pleasantly caught off guard – it started off so quietly, I had no idea it would burst into such energy, and as an added bonus, it transitioned very smoothly from one sound to the other.
The influences in “A Man” are much more closely intertwined from the beginning. Sangster’s voice is louder and bolder, which fits well with the subject of the song, and he shows us a broad range of notes. The following song “Tomorrow Never Comes” is much closer to the first song with the trademark folksy bluesy sound, but stays out of the rock territory. Rather, the spinning high notes cascade in spirals throughout and are a key part of this song’s melody.
“Back Of My (Your) Hand” made me realize how talented with the guitar Sangster is. I mentioned his strumming skills earlier – this is the song that really cemented that idea for me. The guitar is so full bodied that it has all of the weight of being played by a full band, though it’s really one person playing.
I initially just enjoyed listening, but by the time I reached the end of the album I was certifiably blown away by what I’d heard. It’s not complex (though some of those guitar riffs are multidimensional), and it doesn’t have a ton of backing instruments to pad out the sound; rather, it’s just a man and his guitar, the culmination of years of experience, and sheer enjoyment of playing, and you can hear it all throughout. If you’re looking for a grounded sound with some surprising melody developments, check this out.
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