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on 12 October 2016
If you like real, thought provoking music and enjoy listening intently to an Album as a whole, sit down, dim the lights and let this wash over you.
In my top ten of the last 5 years, stunning ,
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VINE VOICEon 12 January 2012
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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"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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on 17 March 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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on 16 March 2011
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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on 19 February 2012
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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on 3 October 2014
I really love this album but equally can see why other people might hate it mainly because after introducing the CD to my workplace I am still the only one who likes it.

If you like music to drown cats to or of another similarly melancholy ilk then this could be right up your street. I recommend searching for it on Spotify or Deezer to get an idea before you take the plunge though!
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on 24 March 2011
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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on 10 April 2011
This is the Burj Al Arab of music! Like the hotel you can only officially give it 5 stars but its worth more!
I was a bit sceptical when I ordered it having read so many good reviews . Id listened to snippets that made me think it might be a bit boring and heavy going but I decided to give it a go. Im glad I did because it is beautiful, haunting stuff. In some ways Im regretting buying it because its doing my head in singing the songs all the time and Im not giving much airplay to anything else!
I dont normally enjoy long drawn out songs but for some reason I love the ones on here and dont want them to end! Each time I listen i change my mind which is my favourite which has to be a good sign.
Be warned, its not a happy album, in fact its traumatic , but its feels real and once youre hooked , thats it. Youre in.
Ive read its personal stuff and you can feel it all the way. Songs of love,drink and despair pretty much sums it up and I know some people will either hate it or not give it a chance buts thats a shame because this is what music is all about.
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on 14 March 2011
One of the greatest things I've ever heard - unknown artist, debut album, absolute masterpiece. Like a forlorn, lo-fi mix of J. Tillman, Ryan Adams and Nick Cave, Pearson tells stories of love, loss and regret with gorgeous, plaintive melodies that will haunt you, and make you keep coming back to, for years and years after you've bought this album. It plays like the soundtrack to some beautiful, epic road movie, or a lost Peckinpah western. This is a record that will probably only be heard by a few, and they'll be lucky indeed, but it's a record that should be heard by everyone and anyone who still believes in the power of a real, raw, honest musical artist. The single, piano version of Country Dumb isn't on the album, but is also an absolute must.
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