REVIEW: Josh Beddis ‘One For Sorrow’ EP

Josh Beddis was the lead singer of rock ’n’ roll band The Curveballs for a number of years, now he is embarking on a solo career as a singer and songwriter of country music.

The EP, titled ‘One For Sorrow’, is the first collection of his own songs that he has released; five of them recorded at (where else?) StudiOwz , Clarbeston, by the man with the golden ears Owain Fleetwood Jenkins.

Although Josh performs solo live, on these recordings he’s joined by three accomplished local musicians – John Rodge on double bass, Jodie Marie on backing vocals, and John Beddis (Josh’s drummer dad; the Beddis’s are Pembrokeshire’s leading musical family) on harmonica. Josh handles the lead vocals and guitar duties.

This a collection of songs that is unashamedly country in tone and feel (I hesitate to use the term ‘Americana’ as its overuse has exhausted any meaning it once might have had) and as such it deals with some of the timeless and classic themes of that genre. Not for nothing I’m sure is the EP called ‘One for Sorrow’ for most, if not all, of the songs grapple with notions of loss, longing, and nostalgia.

This is a beautiful recording, the music is full of light and space, not overcooked, and a perfect counterpoint to the often darker lyrical themes. Josh’s plaintive singing style is perfectly up to the challenge he has set himself; it has matured considerably since I first heard him.

Lyrically, I wish he’d drawn a little more from his own experiences – references to “dollar bills” and the “southern pines” are more American than Welsh. Though ‘The Old House’, a song ostensibly about marital breakdown could refer, albeit obscurely, to the UK’s Brexit travails!

My favourite song is the closer, ‘The River’, a melodic and catchy gospel-inflected number on which Josh, after a snippet of ‘Amazing Grace’, does draw deeply on the well of his own emotions in his search for redemption.

This is a mighty fine debut and available on all the usual platforms.

BB Skone