RGM first encountered Josh Taerk in late 2017 with the release of his ‘Stages’ EP a five track collection full of lyrical positivity and melody. Less than a year later and Josh is back with ‘Beautiful Tragedy’ which takes up where ‘Stages’ left off. I’m pleased to report that despite a serious haircut Josh hasn’t endured a Samson style loss of his creative strength.
If you’re familiar with the ‘Stages’ EP then you’ll have encountered a good proportion of ‘Beautiful Tragedy’ before, but it’s still great to have these songs in one place on a physical format for us old-school types. Admittedly I’m starting to get the feeling that Josh can’t release a record without including ‘After the Fall’ but those strings are always welcome and to my ears it’s still a big hit in waiting. For ‘Beautiful Tragedy’ Taerk has continued his partnership with producer/guitarist Teddy Morgan (Kevin Costner & Modern West) recording in Nashville and finishing things off back home in Toronto.
The three “new” songs on ‘Beautiful Tragedy’ include the opening/title track which shows that Josh’s knack for a hook is still evident. ‘Beautiful Tragedy’ verges on the epic with Morgan’s ringing guitar tones and David Crutcher’s swirling organ supplemented by a host of backing vocals as Matt and Ryan Taerk keep things in the family while “I always loved your laugh, maybe now you’ll get it back” sums up the end of a relationship perfectly. The aforementioned sibling vocals return to usher in ‘Midnight Mustang’ with top session drummer Brian Pruitt (The Shires/Luke Combs/Jon Pardi) working overtime to drive the tune. Taerk has a real knack for mixing up country and classic rock and ‘Mustang’ is another example of his infectious tunesmithery. While ‘Beauty Queen’ rounds out the trio of new songs with Josh pushing his voice on a song that seems to deal with high school and the problems of peer pressure, but I might just be reading too much into it.
Clocking in at just eight songs and a hair over thirty minutes ‘Beautiful Tragedy’ is unfortunately three or four songs short of being the great record Josh is capable of delivering. That being said ‘Beautiful Tragedy’ is well worth your time. Josh Taerk has a way with a tune and is always looking to the positive, even in the darker times, which is no bad thing these days.
‘Beautiful Tragedy’ is released September 28th via Misty Creek Records.
Previous coverage of Josh Taerk @RGM can be found with our review of the ‘Stages’ EP which expands on songs featured on ‘Beautiful Tragedy’.