Album Review: The Morning Light
By Josiah James

By Paul Gibson | September 13th, 2009 | Posted In Album Review



{Release Date: April 25, 2009}

Sitting around an old flatbed truck, listening to a lone guitarist play is not what I expected when I decided to go to this year’s Tom Fest in Camas, Washington. But, I was astounded by the lack of seats left to see Josiah James play. I had never heard of him until I walked through the merch building and was hailed to a booth being manned by James himself. “Want to listen to my music” he said? So I slapped on a pair of beat-up headphones hooked to an iPod and liked the pop/rock/folk/worship sounds I heard. When I told him I ran a website and radio show he was nice enough to hook me up with a promotional copy of his cd, The Morning Light, and a flier advertising his set the following day.

I made it a point to show up in time to see him on the “Flatbed Stage,” and it was a good thing I arrived early. Shortly before his set started there was very little seating available. He started playing with just himself, an acoustic guitar, and a sampler, which he used to layer his guitar sounds in such a way to give a cool illusion of a full band. I had heard of the likes of Phil Keaggy doing such things, but I had never seen it in person before.

James was able to pull in more than his fair share of passers-by during his set. People wearing shirts featuring bands like As I Lay Dying, The Famine and Haste The Day filed in to watch his set and seemed to be quickly hooked. I am still in shock that he could pull in so many fans of hardcore, metal and screamo. All the while a metal band, who will remain unnamed, played a loud thunderous set less than a quarter mile away.

After getting home and popping in The Morning Light into my iTunes, I discovered to my delight, a great album filled with rich songs, both performed and written with great skill. Unlike his live set, TML does feature a full band, giving it an even bigger sound than his live set. Several people at Tom Fest made the comparison of Switchfoot, which is not far off. I compare his sound to a cross between Switchfoot, The Afters and maybe a worship style band like Delirious or Sonic Flood. Songs like Reaching For The Stars, The Bigger Picture, and The Morning Light have an accessible pop-rock sound, while The Prodigal is a solid audience participation/worship song.

I usually don’t get too much into the softer side of rock, but this album is a must have for people who like The Afters, Switchfoot, Sonic Flood, or just good music. James shouldn’t be an independent act for long. Anyone who can pull a crowd at a festival featuring mostly hardcore and metal acts has my respect and is bound for greater things than the “Flatbed Stage” at Tom Fest.

~Paul Gibson

[rating stars=”4″]

3 Responses to “Album Review: The Morning Light
By Josiah James”

  1. Tiffany says:

    I just met him at Spirit West Coast this year and was very glad I did, his CD is awesome and his love for God shines through his music and his attitude. Very talented young man with his heart on fire for God. 🙂 Don’t want to miss out on this album! I’m so glad you guys posted him on your website!

  2. Shelby says:

    Saw him in McMinnville. Super talented. How old is he?

  3. Paul Gibson says:

    I think he is 19-20ish. But you are right he is a super talent. I hope he finds a record label that will treat him well, and get him some exposure.

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