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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Josh T Pearson - On the lost highway
"The last of the Country Gentlemen" is a damaged and raw record of rare brilliance built up after ten years of self imposed exile, sadness and cocaine wilderness. Josh T Pearson's return is long overdue, particularly for those still smitten by the mighty glory of Lift to Experience's astounding sonic double album of 2001's Texas Jerusalem Crossroads with its central theme...
Published on 14 Mar 2011 by Red on Black

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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars self indulgent twaddle
This album took me on an emotional journey. Starting with excitement and anticipation based on the rave reviews, followed by disappointment, then irritation, and finally I actually got angry that someone saw fit to inflict this lump of self indulgent twaddle on the world.

I'm a big music fan, with very diverse taste, and I do like a bit of melancholia... and...
Published on 22 May 2011 by spam


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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Josh T Pearson - On the lost highway, 14 Mar 2011
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
"The last of the Country Gentlemen" is a damaged and raw record of rare brilliance built up after ten years of self imposed exile, sadness and cocaine wilderness. Josh T Pearson's return is long overdue, particularly for those still smitten by the mighty glory of Lift to Experience's astounding sonic double album of 2001's Texas Jerusalem Crossroads with its central theme of the Lone Star State emerging from the apocalypse as a geographical "Noah's arks" with its epicentre in the town of Denton. It is an album of such intensity that it did suggest a sort of Van Gogh like insanity with the bands heart and soul literally poured into every note. It is hardly surprising therefore that LTE imploded and never been seen since. As Pearson admits with some understatement "We dropped the ball on it. We needed time... I just went out there and prepared for the end of the world. That's just the way it happened."

Seek out pictures today of Pearson and it appears that he could have stepped out of the pages of history. He could stand on the Battlefield at Gettysburg and look like a member of Pickett's Brigade and there is something about "Last of the country gentlemen" which has a timeless and spellbinding quality. It must rank with Neil Young's "Tonight the night" as an epic of desolate bleak beauty. In effect Pearson's album is aural equivalent to the written works of that western genius Cormac McCarthy and the albums weary central tenet is one of failure, burn out and approaching hell in a hand basket. This despair is summarized in the opening line to the glorious ten-minute plus "Country Dumb" that "I come from a long line in history of dreamers/each one more tired than the one before ". (Check out the alternative piano version on the Internet music blogs). On "Woman I've raised hell" you suspect that Pearson has recorded a song destined to be one of the greatest country laments as pleads "honestly why cant you just let it be/ and let me quietly drink myself to sleep/honestly it not what it appears to be"

As it stands this is not so much an album of songs as seven miniature sagas in which Pearson lays bare the tumult of his last ten years and responds with earthy acoustics that meander and ramble but also touch and beguile. There is no attempt here at any Ryan Adams or Dylan LeBlanc alt country accessibility, there is little cheer to be had in an album which travels a journey from heartbreak to rage and back again. The 13 minute plus "Honeymoon is great, I wish you were her" starts with the line "I'm in love with another women/please don't tell my wife" and travels over a tale of infidelity punctuated by a sparse acoustics and a lonesome violin. "Sweetheart I ain't your Christ" in particular is the acoustic equivalent of the sonic boom that is the Texas Jerusalem crossroads "With Crippled wings" sometimes appearing almost to fade out only to reappear with an agonizingly slow commentary from JP. As a singer he has also regularly been compared to Jeff Buckley and the beautiful hymn like opener "Thou art loosed" evokes his memory .

Pearson's return in 2011 is as welcome as Gil Scott Heron's rejuvenation in 2010. Both men have never compromised on their musical vision and by doing so had to pay a price. You are warned that if you are looking for a second set of explosives to match the Texas Jerusalem Crossroads it is not to be found here. There is no attempt on the Last of the Country Gentlemen to sweeten the pill or produce music with any hint of commerciality, compare this with the Low Anthem recent Smart Flesh and the latter could be a Glee album in terms of mood. Many will absolutely hate it, while others will dumbstruck. It is an album that is a forceful and potent reminder that the world needs its damaged losers and outsiders. Josh T Pearson has tapped into a vein of dark melancholy that leads him to produce a completely outstanding set of confessional tales which is classic country music red in tooth and claw and dripping with despair.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Left me speechless, 12 Jan 2012
By 
Cuban Heel "Neil Schiller" (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
There's good music, there's great music, and of course there's rubbish music. Every once in a while I come across a record that is something else entirely. And this is one of those records. On the first listen it literally left me speechless. I couldn't explain to my other half what I liked about it, I just knew it was something a bit special. I haven't felt that way since the first time I heard 'Grace' by Jeff Buckley.

This is not an easy listen. It is probably one of the most depressing albums I've ever heard. But there is just something incredibly compelling about it. It's highly original, but that's not what grabs you: it's the honesty, the pain, the sheer intensity of the emotion packed into it.

At times, ironically, there does seem to be the odd musical nod to Jeff Buckley. There are some occasional Nick Cave-esque lyrics about redemption. But apart from that, it's not really quite like anything I've heard before. Looking at the reviews here I'm not overly surprised that it has split opinion somewhat. Because it is a bold and uncompromising album. It won't be to everyone's taste. Bouncy, sing-a-long pop music it certainly isn't. Posturing, riff-laden rock music it certainly isn't. But if, like me, you think there should be music out there that pushes the boundaries a little bit, that delivers something new and worthy of your attention, then this has to be it. I disagree that it's tuneless. The melodies are subtle and are broken up, cleverly in my opinion, by the more wordy sections of the lyrics. At times the melodies do disappear and are replaced by little disembodied guitar phrases, which I think are beautiful. It's a clever and unique way of presenting music. And it fits well with the highly personal, whispering confessional approach of Pearson's singing.

I suspect this will be one of those records that gets looked back on as a template for all manner of things that follow it. A future classic that is spoken of as being a bit ahead of its time. Seriously, I do believe it's that good. It's not often I agree with music critics, but on this occasion they've got it right. Wow, what a way to start 2012 for my music collection.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking, 17 Mar 2011
Josh T Pearson seems to be exorcising demons in this outstanding piece of music, laying ghosts to rest. The loss of faith. Broken relationships. The yearning for something that might never even have existed. It is the most emotionally arresting and heartbreaking sequence of songs I think I have ever heard. Every one, sublime.

He picks and strums his guitar, teasing out of it the perfect complement to his worldweary yet ever hopeful voice, and in some tracks the presence of a swooning violin adds to the overall delicacy and beauty. The lyrics are wonderful, a Southern gothic of loss and striving that creates images so stark and visual it is like watching a film. Appearing ten years after the magnificent Lift to Experience cd, the Last of the Country Gentlemen is its flip side musically. And yet, although it is acoustic and gentle rather than electric and brash, it is arguably even more uplifting.

It is never easy sharing in the raw emotion of someone else's life, but I feel honoured to be allowed to share Pearson's heartfelt confessions. I hope he found it cathartic. The music it has given rise to is a wonder.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars track after track of utter splendour, 16 Mar 2011
By 
an album of pure beauty, it's heart wrenching and personal and just tickles your ears like a cotton bud with faeries on the end.
the honesty in josh's voice drops you to your knees.
'thou art loosed' starts the album and draws you in, it's a short track too at 3 mins, the tracks are all 5 or 10mins, but that doesn't seem long enough, they could go on for hours and not get boring.
there is nothing tired about this album, it's the album of the year, make no doubt.
'sorry with a song' says it all for me, i'm buying a bunch and giving them to all my formers partners and with a big ten foot tall note with sorry written on it, josh says it better than i ever could.

and, there is an extra track on the vinyl plus CD release that isn't on the CD only release, not sure why, seems a bit odd, but there is, it's the title track of the album too, 'last of the country gentlemen'

well that's my feelings on the matter anyway.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentlemen Prefer Bombs, 16 April 2011
By 
Glenn "Omaha" (Devon England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is explosive stuff in its angst and anger, love explored in all its darkest manifestations with the pain and regret and recriminations and hatred and spiritual ennui of living this romantic nihilism.

I'm not sure if this can accurately embrace such a complex album but it gives you a gist of the songs' candid and confessional narratives, either from Pearson's real experiences [a relationship disaster and a ten year break from his last major musical endeavour, one part of the unique Lift To Experience countrypunk trio] or those of assumed personas, even then informed by Pearson's dark personal thoughts.

The songs are long and seemingly stream-of-consciousness diatribes, weaving along unknown roads where the occasional hidden landmines are triggered and the softly picked acoustic guitar is blown into a flurry of strumming. The lyrics mirror this dynamic paradox. In Woman, When I've Raised Hell.... the pleading 'Honestly, why can't you just let me be and let me quietly drink myself to sleep' is sung slowly and, although obnoxious, suggests an inner defeat, but this rises to an ominously defiant 'because honestly you are my queen but you had better leave or I will be forced to be king ...' and the once soothing strings also climax into a momentary anger. And it is absolutely beautiful.

In Honeymoon's Great - Wish You Were Here Pearson sings of loving a woman who 'simply ain't my wife'. This is the script for Country, but here there are no twee platitudes and homespun rhymes - in another even longer outpouring of candour at 13 minutes, the song tells and retells the simple but insuperable agony of loving another woman for whom he will not leave his wife [such gentlemanly behaviour in a world where this wouldn't normally matter]. The harsh honesty is contained in lines like 'And it'd be kinda funny if it weren't so damn true. I'd gouge my eyes out if I thought it would help me not to see her when I look at you'.

In the battle between melody and melancholy the latter wins but that is what will ultimately make this album outlast pretty and catchy music because it demands such concentration and tolerance when listening - and then the desire to return to empathise in the cathartic unravelling of each song. You won't be whistling these tunes, but you might end up whittling away at your own doubt and despair.
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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars self indulgent twaddle, 22 May 2011
This album took me on an emotional journey. Starting with excitement and anticipation based on the rave reviews, followed by disappointment, then irritation, and finally I actually got angry that someone saw fit to inflict this lump of self indulgent twaddle on the world.

I'm a big music fan, with very diverse taste, and I do like a bit of melancholia... and I really did try with this album, giving it several listens... but in the end I found it so 'moving' that I was compelled to move to my CD player to turn it off.

Seven excruciatingly long, droning whinges, based on a single musical idea which he then repeats throughout the album, so the songs merge into a single, endless swamp. All sung in a voice so dripping with theatrically over-emphasised angst that you'd want to slap the guy - if your mind hadn't already gone numb with the sheer tedium of it all. And boy, does he go on! And on, and on, and on - half the songs are over 10 minutes of aimless musical porridge. And just when you think a song is over, it drags itself back like a sick old dog clinging to the last, painful, vestiges of life.

While there are some good moments - lovely strings on 'woman when I've raised hell' and 'honeymoon'- sadly those moments of beauty soon disappear back into the endless swamp of self pity.

I felt pain when i listened to this - the kind of pain you feel when you're cornered in the pub by an old alcoholic with a head full of excruciatingly dull, self pitying stories.

Do not buy this album. Unless you're buying my copy in a selfless act of mercy
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No excuse... I was warned!, 21 Feb 2012
By 
Richard Neville "gnome of zurich" (Zurich, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
'It is tough stuff' the Uncut review informed me. 'A masterpiece of melancholy' it went on. The critic then namechecked some of Nick Cave and Neil Young's finest works as reference points, and being a fan of the rather maudlin side of Ryan Adams, having grown up with Leonard Cohen as a backdrop, I figured that (despite not being overly impressed with the track on the Uncut sampler) for four quid it might be worth a go.

I was wrong. This is Grimsville, USA. There is no saving grace, no light at the end of the tunnel, we are taken on a journey of self-indulgent, sprawling despair as Mr Pearson spills the traumas of his life out to us in seven songs of varying degrees of length and morbidity , and the questions I find at the back of my mind are when,where and why will I ever play this CD again? Whereas Oberst and Adams mix it up, Josh T drives relentlessly on, dragging us down into the pit. Musically too there is little to wrestle our attention from the message as too often the guitar and violin seem secondary to Pearson's mournful dirges. I'm a Palace Brothers, Bright Eyes, Whiskeytown kind of guy, steeped in the best of Americana but this left me stone cold. If you want Gospel folk then William Elliott Whitmore's 'Hymns for the Hopeless' is a better place to start. 'Hymns and Hopeless' just about sums this up.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars JTP feels the pain, and so will his listeners, 24 Mar 2011
By 
Amazon Customer (Gloucestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
This record is a stark portrait of a man's pain as he comes to terms with everything he has lost, knowing that it was all due to his own actions.

It wouldn't be flippant to suggest that JTP may have cornered the 'tortured soul' market with this debut solo release, and I would suggest that this not an LP you will want to play if you are in need of cheering up. It's by no means an 'easy' listen, but for those that like a their music to be challenging, this critically acclaimed work will hit the mark.
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3.0 out of 5 stars So So, 11 Mar 2013
By 
Mike Blake (Deepest Debyshire) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not as good as I was expecting to be honest. It's OK, but I didn't put it on repeat and want to keep hearing it, which is my measure of 'great' when I first buy an album.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly beautiful, 19 Feb 2012
By 
P. S. Palmer (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I feel compelled to write a review having read some of the others here. I had been meaning to buy this album for a while and read some of the reviews just out of interest. I was surprised with what some said and it made me feel as if I would either love or hate the album. I am relieved to say that it is the former. It is hauntingly beautiful music and I don't see how so many have decribed it negatively-words like 'dirge' and 'twaddle'. I, for one, didn't notice the length of some songs as they are so good. If you truly do love music then I don't see how you can't like this. Don't be put off by the negative reviews-the positive ones are far more accurate.
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