Review: JD & the Straight Shot – Ballyhoo

Artist: JD & the Straight Shot
Album: Ballyhoo (LISTEN)
Released: Jan. 15, 2016
Genre: Americana

When JD & the Straight Shot comes to the Sands Bethlehem Event Center this Friday to open for Jewel, they’ll surely play selections from their latest release, “Ballyhoo.”

If that’s the case, those in attendance at Friday night’s show are in for a treat.

The 11-track, all-acoustic offering is JD & the Straight Shot at their stripped-down best. Mirroring the band’s typical acoustic songwriting process, the record features poignant stories told in frontman Jim Dolan’s baritone voice, rich vocal harmonies, and a variety of influences spread across music history.

Album highlights include the title track of “Ballyhoo,” where Dolan takes a carnival barker approach to remind us that each of us has a “freak” inside. The song also features a blazing, fiddle-driven instrumental break that picks up in tempo and intensity, showcasing violinist Erin Slaver at her very best on the album.

Slaver also adds important accents on “Hard to Find,” an old-time waltz that laments unwelcome winds of change brought on by love and life. Another unique moment is the uplifting “Glide.” Bright and with a bluegrassy feel, its lyrics approach life with a childlike enthusiasm and sense of boundless wonder.

For any fan of storytelling roots rock, “Ballyhoo” is a must-have. The album will give you a greater look inside the human condition, while leaving you in awe of its musical sophistication.

Track listing:
1. Empty
2. Better Find a Church
3. Under That Hood
4. Perdition
5. Glide
6. Nature’s Way
7. Don’t Waste My Time
8. Ballyhoo
9. Hard to Find
10. Here He Comes
11. I’ll See You Again

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