Josh Hyde, Into the Soul (Independent)

After releasing his critically acclaimed Call of the Night effort in 2017, Alexandria guitarist-songwriter Josh Hyde knew it would be only a matter time before he worked with Nashville producer and Shreveport native Joe V. McMahan again. But when McMahan acquired a 24-track analogue machine, Hyde couldn’t get to the Music City fast enough to record these eleven originals. Sonically speaking, you couldn’t ask for a cleaner, live-sounding recording, devoid of any Pro Tools gimmickry.

joshhydeYou also couldn’t ask for a better way to kick off the proceedings than with the piano funky “Rocking Chair,” an incredibly infectious track that’s its own uptown ruler. Hyde’s Louisiana identity is felt elsewhere, such as on the tender “Down on Bourbon Street,” and “All You Need is Soul,” where the message imparted is that music is everywhere.

Yet, it’s more a blend of Americana with blues roots than anything else. Regardless of the targeted demographic, Hyde’s impassioned vocals are what’s really on tap here, drawing you into whatever emotion’s at hand. While most of this is moderately up-tempo, laments “For You I Ache” and “Reasons Why” find Hyde withering away at his lowest low, rife with despair and heartache.

McMahan complements those emotions well with cleverly crafted, dense arrangements where parts quickly float in and out of consciousness. The artist and the producer  also form a considerable force on electric and slide guitars, slinging and jamming away for a cool contrast of tones and textures, such as on “Call My Name.” When Hyde says “into the soul,” you can bet there’s nothing superficial about it.