Black and White by Rob Joass is a pleasant album that harkens back to the roots of folk music. With a stripped down, minimal feel, you really can't help but detect a timeless flavour in the offering.
Arriving 18 years after Rob's
debut CD, he seems experienced and it shows. There's a hint of
smooth swagger in his voice as he croons over warm guitar strums.
It makes for a pleasant sound.
Rob changes it up in certain songs with organ solos and beaming harmonicas, and this is where the music shines. 'The Winter Bells' is a great example of this, solid songwriting mixed with excellent instrumental sections work to show what he is capable of. Rob's novelistic approach to writing the lyrics pays off, each song feeling like its own self contained world.
'Waiting For The Long Train To Pass' is an excellently named little instrumental track, perfectly placed to help the listener collect their thoughts before the album wraps up, and before the cheeky Kiwi accent pokes through in 'A Glass Of Cheer'.
Black and White is a solid addition to the folk ranks. The stripped down style provides a raw and personal experience, while maintaining a mature, grounded tone that makes it all feel very honest. It's definitely worth checking out. Let's hope the next album is a bit closer on the horizon.
Corban Koschak, http://www.secondhandnews.nz/reviews - Mar 2015
Accomplished singer-songwriter Joass from Wellington (of Hobnail and The Shot Band) offers this second solo album which include a re-hit at his excellent 2006 Dead in the Water (which was nominated as country song of the year) and a powerfully beautiful new song The Winter Bells with Wayne Mason on Hammond. And the spare Jimmy Ray is an emotionally engaging story from a Death Row prison cell. Nine well focused songs and a lived-in voice.
Graham Reid, http://www.elsewhere.co.nz/ - Oct 2014