Exclusive: Josh Halverson's "Year of the Thunderbird"

Josh Halverson, the Denton singer-and-cattle-rancher who advanced to Battle Rounds on The Voice last October, has been hard at work on an album. Halverson’s voice impressed Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, and Blake Shelton, and it’s not difficult to tell why: his style transcends multiple genres, giving his work a little something for everyone.

Year of the Thunderbird, Halverson’s most recent album, also has a little something to satisfy any fan of Americana. It’s a decidedly Texan album (in spite of the opener, which happens to be called “Georgia”), and contains plenty of pop and country elements. Halverson’s focus on place makes the album especially fun for Texan listeners, since there’s an immediate sense of familiarity in the songs—it’s easy to find a bit of yourself in some of them. “Home” is wistful and full of gorgeous pedal steel and banjo; “All Will See” begins with “Met you at the Stockyards / sitting at a bar.” The songs are a little folksy too, as evinced by the quiet guitar-picking, storyteller feel of “Out My Window.” “Crossing the Line” is another folksy track that also happens to be one of the strongest cuts on the album—it’s a little quieter and more sober than many of the other songs, and there’s something classic about its sound.

Halverson cites influences from John Denver to Merle Haggard to Paul Simon, so it’s not terribly surprising that many of the songs on Year of the Thunderbird seem liable to walk away from their Americana tether in some direction or another. Tracks like “Mama” and “Show Me Baby” even meander into blues, soul, and funk territory, and listeners may find themselves occasionally wondering whether this is the same Josh Halverson from the beginning of the album. But the very personal nature of Halverson’s songwriting brings all of the tracks back to an aesthetic center—these are obviously songs that go together, that speak to one another. There’s a consistent lyrical urging (as there is in all good roots music) to take up a modest life, live and create among one’s people, drink in the world’s natural loveliness, and remember that all of those things are connected.

Stream Year of the Thunderbird here, then visit Josh Halverson’s website to order your own copy of the album. The singer-songwriter (who also has plans for a national tour!) plays on February 3rd at Dan’s Silverleaf. Like Halverson’s Facebook page for updates.

Header image design by Brittany Keeton