White Owl Red aka singer/songwriter Josef McManus has been prolific. His anticipated fourth White Owl Red album is called Afterglow. White Owl Red’s Afterglow takes us on a thoughtful emotional journey that profoundly explores themes of love, loss and redemption.
The album contains ten songs. I would say there is a mix of a number of different genres with these songs like folk, traditional Americana, country and rock. There is an organic quality to the music that is undeniable. It feels like you’re listening to musicians playing together in a room.
He opens with the title track “Afterglow” and it is a bright and hopeful sounding song in terms of the music but the lyrics certainly paint a different picture. I mean the song seems to be about a very turbulent relationship that didn’t end on good terms.
You can hear some of the warm country flavor on “Hold On.” I’m a sucker for laptop steel and this is no exception. The song is 180 degrees from the previous song in terms of topic. This is about love but an undying sort of unconditional love.
The energy gets picked up on “Hell and the Blues” which revolves around a sweet bluegrass inspired drum beat, harmonica and much more. On top of that the song is mighty catchy. I was already familiar with the ultra catchy “I Walk the Line (for you) which is a tip of the hat to the man in black. If you weren’t dancing already then “Out On The Waters” will have your number.
One of the most heartfelt songs was the ballad “Through is Through.” The most rock oriented song by a quite a bit is “Tip Top Bob’s” which is borderline garage rock. He goes back into reflective ballad mode with “Wake Up.” “The Way I Feel” is somewhere in the middle of a number of genres and might be the best vocal performance. He closes with “Working Class Heros” which at least in sentiment seems like it could bring people together.
There is no denying these are well written and delivered songs that are cohesive. This is another impressive release in his discography. Recommended.
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