Josh Harty ‘Long List of Lies’ (MRC cd)
“One of the best young talents I have heard in years.” Bob Rhea, Minnesota Public Radio
“Harty’s voice appeals to empathy for the forlorn… simply and subtly.” Wisconsin State Journal
“One of Madison’s best singer/songwriters.” Dane 101
“Josh Harty is one of those talents who you’re not sure if you should applaud in adoration or strangle out of envy.” Duluth News Tribune
“An American singer/songwriter prodigy.” The Nenagh Guardian, Ireland
Josh Harty began playing music in his hometown of Kindred, North Dakota under the tutelage of his father when he was only six years old. From the beginning his music was marked by a love of gospel, country, and blues, and over the years Harty’s sound has mellowed into a catalog of original songs that is at once greater than the sum of its parts and most assuredly rooted in its origins. In a career that has spanned 24 years, Harty has graduated from playing nursing homes and Lion’s Clubs with his father, to opening for music legends such as Iris Dement, Kelly Joe Phelps, Robert Cray, and B.B. King. On his second solo outing, Long List of Lies, Harty delivers on the promise of his immense and singular talent.
Bob Rhea of Minnesota Public Radio has called Harty “one of the best young talents I have heard in years,” and Dane 101 has called him “one of Madison’s best singer/songwriters.” The Wisconsin State Journal has called ‘Long List of Lies’ “a more upbeat and measured album than his excellent ‘Three Day Notice’. One might go a step further and declare that it is his breakout album. Backed by a brilliant group of local Madison musicians, Harty has crafted a powerful and celebratory album that exudes the wisdom and contentedness that come with really living and really losing. ‘Long List of Lies’ is a testament to the beauty of dimly lit bars, broken hearts, and the home that we are all looking for, and it is the clearest indication to date that Harty is destined for national acclaim.
Review of \"Long Time Coming Down\" from \"A Long List of Lies\" Isthmus, Madison, WI Tom Laskin 9/04/08
Presumably, the “you” Josh Harty addresses in his low-down anti-love song “Long Time Coming Down” is a woman. But really it could be anyone with whom the veteran singer-songwriter has tried and failed to cement an honest relationship. That’s part of the power of this artfully ambiguous country-folk tune, a highlight of his new album A Long List of Lies. Even after Harty has tired of waiting and decides to move on, it’s unclear exactly what he’s left behind.
Such is the strength of his smooth, world-weary baritone voice that the listener doesn’t really care. One thing is plain: Harty’s been left waiting one too many times.
In some ways, both Harty’s ominous baritone and the up-tempo snare work that powers the tune along at a brisk clip, recall some of Rodney Crowell’s less pop-oriented material. However, Harty, who hails from North Dakota, doesn’t have Crowell’s ironical Texas sensibility. Instead of suggesting his state of mind with some well chosen details, Harty lays bare the essential conflict of the lyrics straight away, and asks anyone who dares to feel the existential ache of his disappointment and frustration.
A lot of singers can’t pull off that kind of unmediated honesty. Fact is, they don’t have the richness of character or depth of soul or whatever it is that makes you want to crawl up close to the emotional core of a musical performance. But Harty has it, and if you let him he’ll stroke every bruised emotion and baleful thought that’s ever touched your troubled mind. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The pros in Austin and Nashville have nothing on this guy.