Recorded at Nashville’s famed Hilltop Studios with the Bluegrass dream team of producer J.D. Crowe and engineer Steve Chandler, Modern Day Man is partly a tribute to his idols Keith Whitley and Tony Rice, and the groundbreaking 1970’s editions of Crowe’s New South that launched both men's respective careers.
The record features an all-star team of musicians including Rob Ickes, Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, Scott Vestal, Aubrey Haynie, Aaron McDaris and pedal steel legend Doug Jernigan, among others.
Regarding the album, which was completed following Williams’ treatment for methamphetamine addiction, he says, “I’ve seen hell in a few different forms, I wanted this album to be a journey - ‘Here’s where I was, and here’s where I am now.’”
Modern Day Man reflects the widest range - musically and emotionally - that Williams has ever shown. Williams’ journey is mapped in 12 songs from some of the finest writers in bluegrass and country, including Tom T. Hall, Chris Stapleton, Harley Allen, Ronnie Bowman, and Jerry Douglas.
Songs include “Across the Great Divide," a powerful country ballad about the realities of divorce, splitting one life together into two apart. The folk-styled “Prodigal Son” is about a young man dictating a letter home, telling how great things are, when that couldn't be further from the truth. “God’s Plan,” by Harley Allen, whose own demons shortened his life, serves as a reminder that, no matter how much we think we’re in charge, there’s a more powerful hand at work.
The final two songs represent the extremes of Williams’ story, the darkest hours and the saving grace. “Always Have Always Will,” by Chris Stapleton and Brandon Rickman, is a fatalistic portrait of a man beyond control, a slave to heartbreak and alcohol, in a downward spiral with only one possible outcome.
Out of that hell comes the redemption of “Sweet Little Boy.” A young man with “a bellyful of whiskey and cocaine” steals his mother’s car and almost dies in the wreck, but fights his way back with love and heavenly assistance. It brings the journey of this Modern Day Man full circle, ending on a hopeful note.
From 2003 - 2007, Williams played guitar with Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, which entailed non-stop touring and recording. However, when Vincent let him go in 2007, the music never stopped. The Josh Williams Band began touring and recording, winning 2010’s IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year award.
In 2008, his idol Tony Rice invited him to play mandolin in his band and Williams won the first of his three straight IBMA Guitarist of the Year honors (2008-2010).
After he got out of rehab, at the end of 2012, Rhonda Vincent re-hired him, a testament to his recovery, and he’s been there ever since. Williams will continue touring with Vincent prior to and following the release of Modern Day Man.
Josh Williams has been clean and sober for six years and counting and has now turned his struggles, his heartbreak and the victories along the way into the best music of his life, the masterful mix of bluegrass and classic country that is Modern Day Man.
Modern Day Man will be available March 25.
Modern Day Man Track Listing:
1.The Queen Of The County Fair
2. Modern Day Man
3. The Great Divide
4. Girl From The Canyon
5. Let It Go
6. Another Town
8. Prodigal Son
9. Lonesome Lesson Learned
10. God's Plan
11. Always Have Always Will
12. Sweet Little Boy