Music Review: Joshua Burnside’s brilliant “Into the Depths of Hell “

Source: Folk Radio UK

We were recently treated to two new songs from the Northern Irish singer songwriter extraordinaire Joshua Burnside, the confessionals ‘Whiskey Whiskey‘ and most recently ‘The Only Thing I Fear‘. Songs which combined vivid imagery and powerful lyricism dealing with our darkest thoughts, irrational fears and insecurities. They offered a glimpse of an artist at a personal high in his aesthetic pursuit, laying bare his innermost thoughts, dreams and wishes.

As he exposed the crazy fragility of humanity on ‘The Only Thing I Fear’, he plunges us even deeper on his latest single and our Song of the Day ‘and you evade him/born in the blood‘ the release of which has been coupled with the announcement that a new album is on the way – Into the Depths of Hell is to be released on 4th September. The accompanying video reveals just how deep Burnside can plunge his listener…from the off, a synthetic gauze-like surface of micro blips present the ticking passing of time, unabated and unstoppable with found-sounds that unravel like a late-night cold sweat.

One excerpt, from which the song takes part of its title, is an interview featuring Richard Burton during which he talks of his battle with alcoholism…”you evade him… you evade him… But one of these days unless you’re careful, he’s gonna nail you right on the chin and down you go.” That opener, coupled with the visuals, leave you with an unnerving sense of standing on the precipice…witnessing the rolling cycle of struggle and dealing with your own inner turmoil that’s trying to make sense of it all. Those first opening lines from Burnside say it all…

“I was a liar
when I said
I am not afraid
I am”

Joshua released his debut album ‘Ephrata’ in 2017 via Quiet Arch Records. Filled with deeply personal stories of characters he had encountered and hearts that had been broken, it illustrated a man at odds with the world before him. A critical and commercial success, the unique mix of Irish traditional, European folk and Americana music that fuelled the emotional core of his inaugural release earned Joshua the ‘Best Album’ award at the Northern Irish Music Prize.

After his time spent touring ‘Ephrata’ around the UK and Ireland, Joshua returned home to his native Belfast, determined to capture the sounds, sights and stories he encountered on his travels. A deluxe EP (‘Wear Blue Bells In Your Hat If You’re Goin’ That Way’) and live album (‘Live At The Elmwood Hall’) emerged earlier this year as he continued to experiment in his studio. Most recently he shared songs that he’d first heard at the Sailortown Folk Club in Belfast through his more traditional EP Far O’er the Sounding Main.

Burnside appears to be on something of a creative high…be sure to follow him on his journey ‘Into the Depths of Hell’.

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