Although Josh Kelley’s third album, Just Say The Word is the first release on his own Threshold Records label, he is no stranger to music. Kelley’s new album, officially released to iTunes in June of 2006 with a physical release much later, is engaging pop a la Jack Johnson. With a laid back pop style, this 12-track album is one that doesn’t need several listens to ease into.
The album begins with an excellent “Opposite of Me,” that will remind you incredibly of Jack Johnson. However, as Josh Kelly moves into a harder pop territory with “Pop Game,” he shows that he is capable of playing between styles to create more enjoyable music. This song has a reggae feel with a Rick Springfield sense about it. However, it is his ballads with their acoustic guitars that win me over. The first two are the 3rd and 4th tracks, the title tune, “Just Say the Word,” and “Cain and Able,” both that provide a closer look at the songwriter in Josh Kelley. “Just Say the Word” is more a tender moment in a TV series while “Cain and Able” is more an introspective song that is just flat out excellent work that reminds of early ‘60s songwriting.
The interesting thing about Just Say the Word is Josh Kelly’s chameleonic voice. There are many elements that extend from it, from a soulful voice (“How the Story Goes,” “Fools Like Me”) to obvious Jack Johnson (“Opposite of Me,” “Beautiful Goodbye”) to a Simon & Garfunkel-like sound (“Mississippi River Girl”).
There’s plenty to like about Just Say The Word.