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For the Ride Home

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Album Review

Josh Kelley won't be able to outrun the John Mayer comparisons. For the Ride Home, the young Mississippian's easygoing Hollywood debut, was helmed by John Alagia, the guy behind Mayer's Room for Squares and the Dave Matthews Band's Crash, among others. Kelley sports a similar flair for phrasing and first-person confession, too, especially on "Angeles" and "Travelin'." Ride Home also tends slightly toward the bland — "I Saw You" is like a highway exit with 14 enticing yet utterly homogenous fast-food offerings. Thankfully, dollops of Kelley's homespun charm keep things interesting. Opener and lead single "Amazing" is an upbeat, dizzy number warmed by Kelley's husky expressive vocals and an organ solo. The song's similarity to Jason Mraz' "Remedy (I Won't Worry)" isn't surprising — Alagia produced that one, too. But that's all right. For the Ride Home ends up succeeding for some of the same reasons Mraz and Mayer did — like them, Kelley has a disheveled friendliness that's hard to resist. He's a top-shelf, road-trip conversationalist, looks great in a wrinkled oxford, and settles comfortably somewhere between sensitive and upbeat. His five o'clock shadow never gets to ten, and he's looking at you with amusement over the lip of his coffee mug. While lighthearted stuff like "Perfect 10" and the single certainly please, it's actually the quieter material that's most promising here. "Amen" is an elegiac number that suggests, well, Seal, while the arrangement for emotional standout "Home to Me" is wisely pared down to Kelley's faintly cracking vocal, an acoustic guitar, and a pretty wash of atmospherics. Taken with the rootsy, winking "Faces" ("The forecast calls for rain to take away the day/I guess we'll just have to stay inside the room...."), the track illustrates Kelley's deft, broken-in touch, and proves he's much more than just another square.

Customer Reviews

For the Ride Home

This album is just nice. I bought it for the song "Amazing" which is really good. The second track is also a good tune. The thing I like about this album is that it's great for playing as background music but it's not something I would use to get my day started. Simply put, it's nice to hear and has some nice tracks, but there is nothing really exceptional about it.

Not really like Mayer

Um. Josh Kelley is not at all like Mayer. Mayer's music is far less reliant on guitar hooks and solos and his style is a bit more southern inspired. The songs on this album are really well written and while I don't think its the greatest album ever, its certainly an excellent buy. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for some chill, love-inspired music... great for car rides too!

Josh Kelley is so inspiring!

Josh Kelley is an amazing singer! His hometown is the same as mine and when he had a concert here, EVERYONE I knew went! Our town is in Georgia and its kinda small so it's so cool that he came from here! He even took the same formal dance classes I take!


Born: January 30, 1980 in Augusta, GA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Josh Kelley has enjoyed a prolific career since debuting in 2001 with the independently released Changing Faces. After signing with Hollywood Records, the Georgia native scored an adult Top 40 hit in 2003 with the single "Amazing" from his label debut, For the Ride Home. Kelley's soulful pop sound resonated with fans of established adult pop artists like Jason Mraz and John Mayer. His 2005 follow-up, Almost Honest, landed atop Billboard's Heatseekers Chart and yielded another Top...
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