Josh T Pearson - Oran Mor, Glasgow, Tue 22 Nov 2011
Utterly entertaining hour of songs and charm from Texan singer
With little fanfare, Texan son Josh T Pearson drifts onstage. The crowd erupts. Calmly, he takes his time before addressing them. ‘Whadd’ya think, jacket on or jacket off?’ An immature chuckle ripples through the dense pockets of punters. ‘You ladies always wanna “jacket off”.’ He cracks a smile.
He has a remarkable gift of making his spectators feel completely at ease, taking the edge off his own daunting task of entertaining everyone. Like a haggard country gent, he slides into ‘Sweetheart, I Ain’t Your Christ’, a song that steals the breath from every pair of lungs, leaving only the faint sound of clinking glass and pints being pulled in the background.
Following with ‘Woman, When I’ve Raised Hell’ it’s an emotional gut-punch, and one hell of an opener. Pearson no doubt breaks countless hearts as he gently weaves his way across the fretboard, stirring up flurries of finger-picked beauty. Trembling between tempos, he lurches in and out of small, suspenseful silences – it takes the crowd a few seconds to ensure he’s finally done before showing their immense gratitude.
In his slow southern drawl, Pearson hits us with more jokes. ‘What’s the difference between a large pizza and a musician? A large pizza can feed a family.’ If it weren’t for his sense of humour you could be forgiven for thinking you were going to leave an emotional wreck.
He tries to splice a cover of Boney M’s ‘Rivers of Babylon’ with ‘Will Ye Go Lassie Go/Wild Mountain Thyme’ – hastily learned a few hours earlier in a Partick bedroom. The crowd appreciate the effort, and it produces a sweetly hushed singalong. Though his patter-to-song ratio might be a bit thin as the set barely skirts round an hour, he is so utterly entertaining that it really doesn’t matter.