Joseph Topping is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter from the Wirral. His latest album, ’Ghosts in the Shadows’ is strongly influenced by Joe’s charity long distance walk from Chicago to New Orleans, a 1400 mile solo trek across America which is reflected in the Blues and Americana that make up the majority of the album.
There is a pleasant, slow paced rendition of ’Lakes of Ponchartrain’ and the standout track on the album ’How High?’ inspired by the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. The songwriting for the original material is strong, particularly where well-researched stories are brought to life, as in ’William McKenzie and the Devil’ referencing the life of a Victorian railway engineer or the personal story of love in ’The Last First Kiss’.
There is a healthy portion of traditional folk such as ’Bonny Light Horseman’, here interpreted as a soulful duet with Miranda Sykes and ’Come Not When I am Dead’, a setting to music of a Tennyson poem.
Topping’s well judged guitar accompaniments and adaptable voice allow the album to wander freely through several different styles of music, each sounding completely authentic, while still sounding like a clear and coherent piece of work. I really enjoyed the musical journey of ’Ghosts in the Shadows’.
Here’s a clip of Joe’s ’How High’.
Released on 22 March 2010 by Fellside.
1. Circus Girl
2. William McKenzie and the Devil
3. Come not When I am Dead
4. Holding on to Love
6. Walking to New Orleans
7. Bonny Light Horseman
8. How High
9. The Lakes of Ponchartrain
10. All Coming Back to Me Now
11. The Last First Kiss
12. Little Red Rooster
13. Georgia on My Mind
14. She Moved Through the Fair