Josh Haden | Devoted

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Rock: Funk Rock Urban/R&B: Soul Moods: Solo Male Artist
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by Josh Haden

Soulful songs of love and devotion from Spain vocalist/bassist Josh Haden; produced by Dan the Automator and featuring performances from John Medeski (Medeski, Martin, & Wood) and Kid Koala.
Genre: Rock: Funk Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Light Of Day
4:43 $0.99
2. Devoted
3:48 $0.99
3. Show You The Way
4:21 $0.99
4. Discontent
4:49 $0.99
5. Broken Heart
4:23 $0.99
6. Do It Again
3:48 $0.99
7. Drifting
3:40 $0.99
8. Want You So Bad
3:43 $0.99
9. Hallelujah
2:44 $0.99
10. Love You More
4:23 $0.99
11. Salvation
3:59 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
While many musicians are products of musical families in one way or another, few can claim as deep a musical heritage as L.A.-based singer/songwriter Josh Haden. Son of legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden and brother to Haden triplets Petra (that dog., Foo Fighters), Rachel (that dog., the Rentals), and Tanya (Let’s Go Sailing, Silversun Pickups, married to actor Jack Black), Josh Haden has created a name for himself with a unique musical vision, a skill for collaboration, and an ability to deliver a riveting live performance. The full scope of Josh’s talents come to fruition on his debut full-length album ‘Devoted’, released February 13, 2007 on Diamond Soul Recordings.

Josh is probably best known as the bassist/vocalist for the ‘90s indie band Spain. Lauded for their subdued alternative rock-blues sound, starting in 1993 Spain garnered an immediate positive reaction from the Los Angeles music community where they started, pairing up with other newbies such as Beck Hansen and his sisters’ group that dog. at local shows. A record deal with Restless Records followed, and Spain’s debut album ‘Blue Moods of Spain’ was released shortly thereafter, gaining the group critical acclaim and a solid foothold in the underground music scene. Spain would go on to tour all over America, Europe, and Australia, release two more records, and develop a cult following that still holds strong today.

In 1996, while on the video set for DJ Shadow’s ‘Midnight In A Perfect World’ (in which Josh played a funk music hippie cult guru), Josh was introduced to hip-hop pioneer/Spain fan Dan ‘The Automator’ Nakamura. Thus began a rich musical association which has resulted in Josh’s vocal duet with Sean Lennon on ‘Sunshine’ from 1999’s debut Handsome Boy Modeling School cd (which has sold over 200,000 copies worldwide), Josh’s vocals on the Blue Man Group’s sophomore 2003 cd, a U.K./U.S. tour with HBMS in 2005, and now Josh’s own debut solo cd, ‘Devoted’, produced by Dan the Automator and recorded both at Dan’s Glue Factory studio and Josh’s studio, Dexter’s Laboratory.

The album that Josh and Dan have put together is a combination of the best of their musical stylings. As beat master and hip-hop producer, Dan is able to supply Josh’s elegant vocals with an underpinning that is both classic and modern, weaving together old-school sounds with contemporary beats reflecting an eclectic merging of musical styles, from r&b ballads, to bass-heavy reggae, to smooth moog-laced pop, to ‘60s-style strip club burlesque madness. The turntable and keyboard tapestries of Kid Koala and John Medeski (Medeski, Martin, & Wood), respectively, add tasty musical flavors to the mix, sometimes heavenly, sometimes sinister, always beautiful. The soulful playing of former Spain guitarist/current Jack Johnson bassist Merlo Podlewski provides a solid foundation for Josh’s lyrical sensibilities, which revolve around, as the title of the album suggests, different aspects of devotion, from the personal to the universal, from divine love to carnal desire.

Josh Haden ‘Devoted’ lp official release date: February 13, 2007 on Diamond Soul Recordings.

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popnews - David Dufeu

Ah ah ! Quel rigolo ce Josh Haden ! Au vu de son atroce pochette néo-gothique où on le voit en pleine séance de spiritisme mondain, on est en droit d'imaginer deux possibilités : 1) le bassiste et chanteur de Spain nous offre un subtil hommage à l'humour second degré du grand poète Bézu, disparu récemment, et nous propose un album festif ;2) la politesse du désespoir le pousse à masquer sa sensibilité derrière un habillage kitschissime. Rassure-toi, ami lecteur, une écoute, même rapide, de l'album, permet de retenir cette deuxième hypothèse, et on s'en serait douté avant : déjà sur "The Blue Moods of Spain" Haden affirmait "Love is my only devotion", et le prouvait sur neuf titres lumineux. En solo, il fait semblant de brouiller les cartes – en fait de solo, on le trouve bien entouré : Merlo Podlewski, de Spain, à la guitare, et Dan the Automator à la production sur tout l'album, mais Haden reste sur ses fondamentaux : maniaque précision instrumentale et langueur d'une voix pourtant méticuleusement ajustée. Sur "She Haunts My Dreams", à mon avis le chef-d'oeuvre du groupe, ce principe baudelairien adapté à la musique (rigidité de la forme mais poésie vivace), générait une émotion et une beauté éblouissantes. Réécoutez les lumineux "Nobody Has to Know" et "Every Time I Try" pour vous en refaire une idée. Sur "Devoted", donc, on retrouve ces mêmes recettes avec bonheur, mais le recyclage a fait son oeuvre, et l'émotion n'est pas aussi flagrante, aussi évidente, que sur les albums de Spain. Certes, la production est millimétrée, les morceaux très équilibrés aussi, mais ils se contentent d'un tempo tranquille qui n'ose pas la lenteur profonde et tragique d'un "Ray of Light", et ne laissent pas forcément la place aux lignes claires de guitare ou de piano de "Untitled #1".
Pour ce qui est des paroles, on se doutait bien que parler d'amour à longueur d'albums et de façon universelle était assez casse-gueule ; à cet égard, l'ami Josh était suffisamment hanté pour pouvoir chanter sincèrement "Our love is gonna live forever" sans sombrer dans le ridicule total. Ici, point de ridicule, mais des paroles pas toujours inspirées : "Only love / From above / Can set you free" (sur "Discontent") ou encore "But true love / Really changes everything" (sur "Broken Heart").
Bon, ne soyons pas mesquin. Même si l'on peut reprocher à Haden fils de tourner un peu en roue libre, et de ne pas avoir attendu toute l'inspiration dont on le sait porteur, "Devoted" reste l'album d'un grand chanteur de soul qui s'ignore, très bien ficelé, et agrémenté en sus des arrangements subtils de Kid Koala sur les trois morceaux finaux – une raison, parmi quelques unes, d'y jeter une oreille.

Tobias Kühlewein

I've read about it in the German music-magazine SPEX. It's one of this year's best albums and not released in Europe! Think of Steely Dan in Dub. Or Jeff Buckley and Chris Isaac with electronic and jazzy edges thanks to Dan The Automator's production and John Medeski on Keybords. Haunting and beautiful! I am so devoted! You should be too!

Skyscraper Magazine - Michael Meade

Leaving behind the nom du disque Spain - which never struck me as much more than the man himself - Josh Haden has released his first solo album, 'Devoted'. The disc calls on a tune from his 2004 EP 'Light Of Day'. Spain, of course, worked marvels in the field of minimalist slow-core ballads over the course of three albums. Fans of the band will find much that resonates here, but apart from a subdued late night jazz lounge aesthetic to this work, Haden has opened up his arrangements to include a richer instrumental palette, though one would never describe it as a full sound. Too, Haden's vocals have progressed from being mere breathy deadpan whispers to more expressive breathy whispers. But his voice is well-suited to his material. Running through the album are subtle elements of a silky smooth R&B, heard best on the soulful title track. Opener 'Light Of Day' most closely resembles a Spain song proper, and sets up the fan for the musical developments Haden has undertaken for this album. As the title suggests, the songs here tend to celebrate, rather than lament, love and its concomitants, from divine adoration to carnal hunger. Produced by Dan the Automator, Haden gets help from Kid Koala and John Medeski.

Spex Magazin - Max Dax

»Who likes to hang out with musicians?«, so geht ein alter Musikerwitz: »the drummer«. »Who comes always late?« …das Klischee des Drummers, der durch sein nachziehendes Spiel jeden Drive aus einer Aufnahme nimmt, durchzieht die Musikgeschichte. Josh Haden, Sohn des großen Jazz-Bassisten Charlie Haden, kennt die Witze genauso auswendig, wie er die Musikgeschichte memoriert zu haben scheint. Gemeinsam mit dem Produzenten Dan The Automator bezieht sich Haden auf seinem lang erwarteten ersten Soloalbum »Devoted« ganz offensichtlich auf das Album »Aja« von Steely Dan. Die transparente, entkernte Soundarchitektur der elf Songs auf »Devoted« klingt durchdrungen von Dans Überplatte aus dem Jahr 1977. Entscheidender Anker des überraschend modern klingenden Albums ist das Schlagzeug. Übrigens eine Programmierleistung von Haden und Dan The Automator, denn es gibt keinen Drummer. Das mag eine Erklärung dafür sein, dass die nie überhasteten Songs so unwiderstehlich kicken, immer eine gefühlte Millisekunde vor der Eins. Die neuen Songs selbst könnten nicht weiter entfernt sein von denen seiner legendären, 2001 aufgelösten Band Spain – es sind perfekt arrangierte, knalltrockene, zudem gelegentlich von sub-bassigen Dub-Grooves infizierte Popsongs. Sie alle sind stets knappe drei bis vier Minuten lang. Zusammengehalten werden sie von einem eingespielten Gefüge aus Drum-Computer, Bass und einem immer wieder überraschenden, extrem reduzierten Einsatz von Synthesizern, gelegentlich dubbig verhallte Streicher. Das verleiht der Produktion den Anstrich eines seltsamen Außerhalb-der-Zeit-stehens, nennen wir es ruhig: einer Gleichzeitigkeit von Siebziger-Zitaten, der Gegenwart und einer von Bass geschwängerten Zukunft. Das kann kein Zufall sein. Josh Haden ist wie sein Vater Bassist.

Michael Boese

you need this record!
you still need it!

Wichita City Press - Jedd Beaudoin

Devoted, Josh Haden’s solo debut, is a simmering and sexy foray into blue-eyed soul. Earnest but never overwrought, focused but not parochial in its ambitions Devoted finds the former Spain vocalist updating the blue-eyed soul that Boz Scaggs and Bryan Ferry laid the foundation for back in the halcyon days of coke spoons and leisure suits. It’s a welcome return of both the artist and idiom he represents. The charms of smooth tracks such as “Want You So Bad,” “Love You More,” “Show You the Way” and the title cut are unmistakable. Turn the lights down low, pour the top shelf booze high and enjoy.

Blogcritics - Timothy Jarrett

Back in 2001, in the days before Blogcritics, I went to see a show by Josh Haden's former band Spain at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle. I was really into Spain at the time, and soaked up the whole atmosphere: the hushed reaction of the crowd, the tight performances of the band, Josh Haden's eyes-closed, stone-still performance with his bass at the vocal mic. But the reaction of my friend--a sarcastic request for "another mellow song!"--made me realize that Spain lived or died by how convincing you found its blend of slow, quiet, blues and country-inflected late night bar music and heart-on-sleeve sincerity. Certainly the band's best moments--the song "Every Time I Try," snagged by Wim Winders for the soundtrack to his film The End of Violence; their superb swan song "I Believe;" and their entire first album, The Blue Moods of Spain, all revolve around that formula.

Over time, though, their work began to feel just a little like it was a formula. And the more the sound drifted toward country, the more I felt like Josh's heart wasn't in the songwriting. The songs were still simply beautiful--"Mary" is an aching melody that has been stuck in my head for days at a time--but the lyrical content seemed less broad in intention or scope than it had on the first few albums.

Turning, then, to review Josh Haden's first proper solo album, a self-released affair called Devoted, one must ask: are the songs still slow? Is the country twang still there? Are any of them not love songs? In other words, what's new?

The answer: Josh Haden found Dan the Automator.

Yes, the songs are still slow love songs. Having set a landmark with his song "Spiritual" (and really, having a song from your first album covered by Johnny Cash has to count as a home run), Josh doesn't dwell overlong in that starkly religious land, though the closing "Salvation" returns to the territory in a pan-religious way. There is a powerful religious subtext, though, to almost every other song on the album, whether it's "only love will set you free" in "Discontent" or "take my hand and never go astray" in "Show Me the Way." This is perhaps to be expected given Josh's position on the purpose of music: "Why waste my time with music that doesn't help to bring me to a deeper understanding of life?"

And, again, thanks to Dan the Automator's beats and some quirky keyboards from John Medeski (of Medeski, Martin, and Wood), the sound is totally different from Spain, even with the continued presence of guitarist Merlo Podlewski: less bluesy, less organic, brighter, flatter, more trancelike in places (indeed, at times Josh's performance recalls another singer-songwriter who hooked up with a beat-focused producer, Beth Orton). Not all the experiments are successful. The upbeat "Drifting" is spoiled by an uncertain-pitched vocal and a beat that feels canned, and the harmonies on "Want You So Bad" are likewise wobbly. But balancing out these low points are some real gems: the apocalyptic imagery of "Hallelujah," the dark seduction of "Love You More," and even the Spain-manque of "Light of Day." In fact, some of the strongest moments on the disc are the ones that sound most like Josh's old band.

Which, I suppose, begs the ungenerous question: why change at all? But songs like "Show You the Way" and "Devoted" blend the plaintive songwriting of Haden's older canon with a fresher musical palette, and maybe that's the value of this recording: helping to distill the essence of Haden's songwriting in the absence of the sonic hallmarks of the old band.
Read more... - Solveig Sevik

Josh Hadens første soloalbum er en svært behaglig opplevelse.
”Devoted” starter rett og slett veldig bra.

Den første sangen er helt nydelig; sexy, stemningsfull og behagelig, sunget med en sløvet, hes vokal. De første gangene man hører albumet kan man bli noe overrasket over at en ny sang har startet, alt går nemlig i ett på sett og vis.

Kanskje litt Counting Crows-aktig; drømmende og melodiøst. Dette er nemlig en plate man må høre på flere ganger for å skille låtene fra hverandre, og virkelig nyte hver eneste sang.

Og da er plutselig hele skiva helt nydelig!
Dette er sensuell, blues-inspirert musikk som passer bra med dunkel belysning, rødvin og tett dans...

M-la-Music - JM Grosdemouge

S'il ressemble de plus en plus à son père Charlie en vieillissant, Josh Haden demeure un être singulier : dans les années 90, alors que l'heure était au trip hop, il sortait avec Spain un disque "à l'ancienne" : "The blue moods of Spain". Aujourd'hui, c'est toujours sous une pochette aux ombres bleues (pas très jolie du reste) qu'il nous offre sa nouvelle collection de chansons... Cette fois-ci, et pour ne pas déroger à la règle, elles ont une jolie teinte électro, puisqu'elles sont produites par Dan The Automator. A l'heure du retour du rock, Haden choisit délibérément de ne pas jouer la carte facile de la mode. Jamais dans la tendance du moment, Josh n'en suit en réalité qu'une seule, et depuis toujours : sa tendance intimiste. Dans le droit chemin de sa collaboration avec Soulsavers (voir notre article) Haden fils, livre des chansons de soul moderne, et met à nu ses bleus à l'âme, raconte son coeur en miettes. Plus de dix ans après qu'on l'ait découvert, Josh reste un artiste discret, ses disques sont mal distribués en France mais la quête d'un beau disque pop à ranger dans votre discothèque ne devrait pas vous rebuter.

Giant Robot Magazine - Eric Nakamura

I've heard bits and pieces of this in production courtesy of Dan the Automator, who produced Haden's solo album into something far from what I'd expect from the voice of Spain. The songs are still slow - that's not going to change - but the tone is a surprise. Haden has gone from being a mellow rocker to a soul-driven voice that borders on R&B. The band on this effort includes bassist Merlo Podlewski (who plays with Jack Johnson), keyboardist John Medeski (sans Martin and Wood), turntablist Kid Koala (whose sound is instrument-based and not scratchy at all), and Dan himself. The theme is constant: Josh, the suit-wearing loverman, singing about the ladies. On the cover, he looks serious and is flanked. It's hard to pick a standout song; maybe it's bad to be so consistently good.
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