On November 6th, Josh Abbott Band released their first album since Small Town Family Dream in 2012. Front Row Seat. A concept album designed by Abbott that gave a very real look into his life and struggles he had endured the past few years – mainly, his divorce with his wife.
I waited ever-so patiently for this album. Abbott was constantly tweeting lyrics and explaining to his fans how this album would be different than anything the band had ever done. Different was certainly the way to describe this album, however, different works.
In comparison to other JAB albums, I can see how much the band has grown over the years. I loved Small Town Family Dream so I was curious to see how Abbott planned to top songs like She Will Be Free, but he made it possible.
As the title of the album suggests, Front Row Seat is a show about Abbott’s life split into five acts. Exposition, Incitation, Intimacy, Dissolution, and Denouement. Each act tells a story and Abbott moves his audience through the story, his story. It’s as if you are apart of his life, experiencing his joy and his pain with him.
Pitching this concept album had to have been risky for Abbott. After all, once the circumstances surrounding his divorce were released he likely lost many of his fans. Who wants to hear the story of a man who cheated on his wife? Yet despite the circumstances of Abbott’s personal life, I knew I appreciated the music he produced. I also choose to see the best in people, and I believe Abbott’s willingness to tell his story meant he truly learned something from his experience.
As the album release came closer, I was ecstatic to hear this new music Abbott had been talking about for what felt like forever.
With all this being said, I have now listened to the album start to finish too many times to count. I tip my hat to Abbott. The album is truly incredible and one-of-a-kind. I honestly can’t get enough of it. I feel like I have been on a journey with him, and at the same time his music reminds of my own journey.
This has been a hard conclusion to come to, but I’ve decided to list my top five favorite songs of this album. They are all so great, but as with most music, there are some songs that simply resonate with me more than others.
5. Front Row Seat. The title track had to make this list. Honestly, this is a purely sweet song and it makes me happy every time I hear it. In all seriousness, I’ve always wanted the first dance at my wedding to be Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis but it looks like Josh is giving him a run for his money.
4. Wasn’t That Drunk (with Carly Pearce). Despite what the title may lead you to believe, the song is about falling in love, and believe me I fell in love with the song. Also, where has Carly Pearce been all my life?? This girl is AMAZING. She sent me to flashbacks of when I first heard Kacey Musgraves in Oh, Tonight back in June of 2010. I could listen to her sing all day.
3. Anonymity. The final song on the album and kind of a sad song. It reminds me a lot of Electric Skies (a song Abbott wrote years ago and my all-time favorite JAB song). The chords of the song are beautiful. I believe the song really gives the listener a glimpse into Abbott’s heart.
2. Intro: A Loss of Memory/Amnesia. Technically these are two tracks on the album, but they coincide with each other. If A Loss of Memory leading into Amnesia doesn’t give you chills then do you have a soul? It’s incredible. When I first heard Amnesia I called it an anthem for my life. I considered it the best song Abbott had written to date. The music of this song is so different than anything Abbott had ever done. The darkness was beautiful and he pulled it off beyond well. Seriously, great song.
1. Ghosts. Wow, I thought Amnesia was the best song Abbott had ever written, and then I heard Ghosts. This song cut me like a knife. It is dark, it is raw, and it is real (and that’s without considering Abbott cries during the last chorus). There’s just something about this song and it’s hard to explain it, but the audience undoubtedly feels what Abbott feels. This song is the epitome of #AllTheFeels. Electric Skies will always be my favorite Abbott song, but Ghosts is a ridiculously close second. It’s hard to rival the emotions felt in Ghosts.
As I said, picking these songs were difficult. I also love This Isn’t Easy (Her Song), Autumn, Kisses We Steal, Born to Break Your Heart, and let’s face it every other song on the album.
So props to Abbott for creating such an incredible album and getting me all in my feels every time I listen to it. Basically whenever Act 4 roles around the tears start streaming. I highly recommend this album to anyone whether you love country music or not, I promise there is a song on it for everyone.
Sic ’em JAB and thanks for letting me sit front row to such a great experience.
*Even if you do not wish to purchase the album, it is available on Spotify and Apple Music. Y’all go listen!!!