Josh Damigo Hope (self-released)
Josh Damigo is one crafty son-of-a-gun. A leather-jacketed lover-boy with goodly Christian values, the singer-songwriter offers up sentimental love songs that almost reach the point of being unwholesome but never quite cross the line.
Now hes backed by a killer band; Hope finds Damigo expanding on his acoustic sound with orchestral strings, bluesy guitar licks and Kenny Chesney-style countrypop arrangements. On album highlight Slow Goin, he teams up with seasoned songwriter A.J. Croce to deliver a sizzling honky-tonk jam with a hard-rock edge.
But Damigo hasnt lost his taste for extra-sharp cheddar. Hope, his second album, consists almost entirely of love songs—Just Let Me Love You, You Happened to Me, Ill Have to Say I Love You in a Song (a cover of Jim Croces song). With that many You songs, hes bound to win over some impressionable young ladies through sheer persistence, though others might die of boredom.
Thankfully, Damigo lets up on the heavy emoting on Alright, an instantly likeable tune he wrote with coffeehouse rap homeboy Rob Deez. Breezy and rollicking with a warm chorus and wicked lyrics (My girl just ran off with my best friend / now they ask me to be their best man), it practically begs to be sung out loud. If Damigo can find the right licensing deal, he might just have a bona-fide hit on his hands.
Still, while Hope has some bright spots (including his lovely duet with Nina Storey on So Far, So Good), 17 tracks is a lot to sit through for any band— and it gets to be a real slog when the singers being so damn serious. Next time, Damigo might trade some of his potent cheese for a little more good humor.