Singer/songwriter Josh Kelley delivers more of the melodic, dewy-eyed pop he's become known for on 2006's Just Say the Word. A compelling presence on record, Kelley has grown as both a songwriter and vocalist since his 2005 debut album, the intimate and soulful Almost Honest. Although Kelley is still somewhat indebted to the adult contemporary soft rock of John Mayer, it's mostly because Mayer shares many of the same inclinations toward blue-eyed soul ballads and melodic rock anthems that Kelley favors here. This is an amiable, heartfelt, hopelessly romantic, and utterly hummable collection of songs that easily draws comparisons to such classic soul singer/songwriters as Hall & Oates, Christopher Cross, and Michael McDonald. Tracks such as the yearning title cut and the joyous "You Are Part of Everything" reveal Kelley's knack for instantly memorable choruses and universally relatable lyrics that still retain a sense of the personal. Just Say the Word is the just the type of album that makes you rethink the trajectory of the artist's career and puts everything Kelley has done before and may do in the future into a truly appealing light.
Just Say the Word Review
by Matt Collar