Ruarri Joseph - Shoulder To The Wheel

Craig Broad 29/10/2010

Rating: 2.5/5

It's been a strange old career for Cornish based Ruarri Joseph so far. If you haven't already heard of Joseph then here is a quick catch up, originally signed to major label Atlantic, Joseph released his debut album in 2007, 'Tales Of Grime and Grit', which led to a degree of acclaim and also support slots with the likes of David Gray, Paolo Nutini and Seth Lakeman (who still speaks highly of Joseph, quoting his latest record as one of the best he's heard this year) but also led to Ruarri becoming miffed with the industry, tearing up his contract and fundamentally becoming his own record label for follow up release 'Both Sides Of The Coin'. 'Shoulder To The Wheel' then, is Ruarri's third album, once again released through his own label, Pip Records.

It's been fascinating watching the progession of Joseph, from one Cornish based creative person to another, while I initially heard Joseph from single 'Tales Of Grime and Grit' which was, if you ask me, one of the best songs released in 2007, the rest of the album didn't even remotely meet those heights. 'Shoulder To The Wheel' is pretty much as you would expect, mature, grounded, and a full album, not relying on one great song to get it through. The influences are still obvious, while Joseph vocally sounds slightly like Willy Mason, you have the obvious references to Bob Dylan, with hints of Leonard Cohen or Johnny Cash. There is also, or at least my dad tells me there is, a Bob Marley reggae feel to it, which I'm sure Joseph will love.

My problem with 'Shoulder To The Wheel' is that it is nice. It is well written, the production is perfect, the sound is perhaps slightly dated but for that, it is probably a record that your parents my like. It is just middle of the road and for that, I just can't rate it.

Ruarri Joseph Myspace