Joshua Batten is a bluesy folk rock singer, song writer and guitarist from Melbourne, best described as a “modern day troubadour”.
Joshua began his music path in 2013 where he entered and won the Kingston Arts Curtain Call Showcase. The prize was a headline show at the Chandelier Room, the show was recorded and released as a demo EP which was sold at gigs during 2014. In 2016 Joshua graduated in Melbourne Polytechnics Bachelor of Music as a professional guitarist, arranger and band leader.
April 2017 saw the release of his debut mini album, Searching For Answers to critical acclaim and reached no. 17 in the Australian Blues & Roots AirPlay chart. Supports to artists in the likes of Russell Morris, Geoff Achison and Chris Wilson followed. In 2018 Joshua played at the Bruthen and Echuca-Moama Blues Festival and reached the semi-final of the Melbourne Blues Challenge.
The City Within, his first full length album was unleashed on April 3rd. Produced by Joshua and Sean O’Sullivan, recorded, mixed and engineered by Sean O’Sullivan at Highway 9 Productions, the album contains 12 inspiring tracks showcasing numerous musical styles and skills.
Having enjoyed Searching For Answers, I was looking forward to this record and I was not disappointed. It’s a step up from its predecessor and a very impressive release.
Unlike Searching For Answers which was recorded with a band, not only has Joshua written all the songs and sings them, he also plays most of the instruments himself with the exception of drums, which is covered by Shane McMahon.
The City Within is a collection of insightful, well written and well orchestrated songs mostly about modern day life experiences with a 60’s/70’s blues feel.
There’s some fine guitar solos supplied by Joshua and superb musicianship throughout. The use of different instruments in the likes of trumpet, violin, bongos & flamenco guitar provided by guest musicians on a couple of the tracks add some variety to the album.
Each composition is conveyed beautifully with Joshua’s passionate vocals, performance and brilliant story telling.
The album opens with Silver Dollars, a great bluesy number that gave me Stevie Ray Vaughan vibes.
The rockiest track on the record is Clarity, having a slightly more aggressive tone vocally and musically. That is followed by the dulcet tones of one of my favourites, Bittersweet Afternoon and along with another favourite, Behind Closed Doors are prime examples of the high quality song writing that is displayed across the album. The latter is a powerful protest song about the closure of live music venues which musicians and punters alike can relate to.
The Slide is the most fun, upbeat track and also the most diverse. With the addition of bongos and flamenco guitar gives it a Spanish Latin feel which took me back to my ballroom and latin dancing days. Ole! Cha Cha Cha!
Closing the album two ‘encore songs’ which are the pre-album singles, the groovy, funky Hollywood Blues that has a classic rock feel, and another favourite of mine, the uplifting At The End Of The Day, with a chorus so memorable that will stay in your head long after the album has ended.
At 25 years young, Joshua possesses the talent and maturity of one well beyond his years. (On a side note, he was 23 or even younger when a majority of this album was written!). No matter what music genres you’re into, if like me you’re a sucker for genuine story tellers, appreciate intelligently written and heartfelt anthems that are inspiring and also fun enough to have a boogie to, you cannot go past this stellar release.
The City Within was previewed last September at the David Williamson Theatre in Melbourne in front of a sold out crowd. The show was filmed and recorded by Shoelace Creative. Joshua has picked nine song performances to be released weekly on Facebook and YouTube, 4 tracks are already up. I have shared a couple here. Follow his Facebook page to see more.
Purchase CD here:-
Also available on Apple and Amazon.