“In general, I’m a nostalgic person,” singer/songwriter Josh Gilligan says in relation to his new record Steady On. However, he qualifies this by also suggesting, “I don’t think retrospective behavior is completely healthy.”
From its homey sleeve art to its gentle, acoustic guitar-led songwriting, Steady On is the kind of album one could mistake for a nostalgia-worshipping hipster who’s imbibed one kombucha too many. The songs he writes, however, paint a different picture: a picture of someone who has taken in and has a deep respect for old-fashioned songwriting. Steady On may be a nostalgic affair, but it’s not nauseatingly so; it’s the sound of how to look into the past without worshipping at its altar, all the while bringing in a new perspective.
Gilligan tells PopMatters, “Steady On follows a trail of emotional recovery: to be more specific, my trail of emotional and psychological recovery over the last year. Change in large doses can really force some self-re-examination, and when that process is carried out properly, it leads to growth. So, it’s definitely birthed out of personal experience, but I think the narrative applies to any type of loss or emotional evolution one might experience.
“The record kicks off on a note of acceptance, then quickly drifts into spite, depression and frustration, but then things start to turn for the better. ‘Enough’ helps to portray the paralyzing nature of discontent, and sets up the remainder of the record’s narrative. From there the lessons are clearer, and light steps back into the picture.
“The songs came from a real place, and the music did as well. The record came together over a series of live-tracked sessions and sees little overdubbing. Sonically, it rides the line of some of my favorite records, and I think it’s really true to where I’m at as an artist right now.”
Steady On is out on 22 May.