All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jeffrey Joslin - Smile: an EP

Jeffrey Joslin - Smile: an EP
2010, Jeffrey Joslin

Jeffrey Joslin was a scholarship athlete; a quarterback with Charleston Southern University.  It's an opportunity that would make most American boys happy, but it wasn't working for Joslin.  He walked away in the middle of his first semester there to pursue his first dream of being a musician.  In 2005 Joslin transferred to Middle Tennessee State University to learn the production side of the music business while continuing to play and write at every opportunity.  Forward to 2008 and Joslin set out to record an album.  Fifteen songs and a lot of soul searching later, Joslin has pared his work down to five songs presented on Smile: an EP.  It's a fabulous introduction to a smile-inducing artist who has his roots set firmly in the Motown albums of the 1960's and early 1970's as well as classic pop music.

Smile opens with "Big L, Little L", a blues/soul blend about the dangers of a father being inattentive to his daughter.  It's a great tune; topical, entertaining and a healthy dose of danceable rock n roll to boot.  "Big L, Little L" serves as a reminder of what can happen when parents don't involve themselves in the lives of their children.  "So What You Wanna Do" is catchy 1960's rock n soul with a positive message; and highly entertaining.  "Smile" is a reminder to not sweat the small stuff in love.  Joslin perhaps over-simplifies a bit, but the result is a highly positive and enjoyable number that's a reminder to be thankful for the small things and to distance yourself from the things that don't make you happy.  "She's A Keeper" is mildly catchy but trite to the point of being kitsch.  This is the weakest offering on the disc, with Joslin even missing notes on occasion, although he tends to overcome this with a personality-plus performing style that shines through even from the studio.  "The Girl Across The Room" is a pop/R&B ballad in the style of Stevie Wonder, a nice turn that suffers from serious pitch problems on Joslin's part. 

Jeffrey Joslin makes a strong start with Smile: An EP but finishes relatively weakly.  Nothing on the EP falls flat as Joslin's persona and performing style are grand enough to overcome the occasional vocal glitch.  To be frank, Joslin sounds better in his lackluster moments than some artists may manage in their best moments, but that's perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Smile: An EP.  It's like watching a rookie baseball player who's highly touted make spectacular plays but then fail to run out a ground ball.  The first three songs presented here show Joslin at his best; the last two have a lackadaisical feel.  Joslin has the talent to pull them off amicably, but it's clear he's capable of much better.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Jeffrey Joslin at or An EP is available digitally from or iTunes.

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