Though he's been a recording artist for over two decades now, and has been writing songs for thirty years, The Straight Hits! is only Josh T. Pearson's second solo album, and follows his acclaimed debut, 2011's Last Of The Country Gentlemen and 2001's The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads by his group Lift To Experience. Lately, the dapper Texan gentleman has been motivated by a desire to share more Josh T. Pearson music with the world, before it's too late. "In the last years I learned to dance, take drugs, make love...choose life. I got rid of the beard, cut my hair and started wearing colour. I burned down all my idols and realized in the process that I needed to burn down my reputation as fast as I could too. I felt constricted by the old stuff and I didn't like being in a cage. It wasn't letting me move on."
It is in this spirit that Pearson presents The Straight Hits!, an album which began as a mere creative exercise – each song had to follow certain parameters – and one that has given the artist the freedom to write a lighter, more "straight" album. The Straight Hits! features multiple different flavors of country, rock and all points in between, taking in blasts of goofy shit-kicking country-punk (opener "Straight To The Top!"); cataclysmic rock'n'roll playing its romantic drama at high-stakes ("Loved Straight To Hell," which compresses the elemental power of Lift To Experience into five and a half minutes of symphonic turmoil); aching folksy mourn ("Dire Straights Of Love"), and even a bona fide love song, the deliciously profound ache of "A Love Song (Set Me Straight)."
Written fast, the tracks were cut with similar no-nonsense focus, in three days with engineer Matt Pence (who made Mute's 2017 reissue of The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads sound so vivid) at the controls, Lift To Experience drummer Andy Young once again manning the traps, and Daniel Creamer and Scott Lee Jr. of The Texas Gentlemen on keyboards and bass guitar. The recordings were then flown to the UK to be mixed by Ben Hillier. And while the whole project was meant as a simple "exercise", the result is some of Pearson's finest music to date.