Pete Josef is an artist who uses his soulful eloquence not just to entertain, but to open up conversations about his own social consciousness. He has an inherent need to create, build, share and protect as well as educate himself about issues regarding the environment, society, politics, race and gender. All of these have permeated into his musical output in recent years, but on the new single, entitled Sunny Side Up, it’s the often not talked about topic of depression that comes to the fore.
Despite the bleak subject matter, it’s actually a song about the importance of having people around you to support you when you’re not feeling at your best. Pete admits to suffering from anxiety for much of his life, and cherishes having his family present when he feels unable to step up as a partner or parent; when he experiences that ‘hazy funk’ in the day-to-day. In many ways it’s a love song, or at least one of appreciation for the people who carry you through those moments in your life.
“Took a little while and it might take longer, god only knows.. But darling I try. I’m invested all ways. I just hit bumps in the road that I cannot evade.”
Like much of Pete’s new material, the song has a retro and somewhat South American feel. For the first time in a long while, Pete chose to perform all the instrumental parts on this track himself.
A 1960s Harmony Sovereign (the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ guitar!) provides the core, whilst minimal drums (recorded with one single mic in Pete’s Orchard Cabin) and Hofner vintage bass provide a groove reminiscent of stripped back 1970s Al Green productions. The result is something delicate and spontaneous – perfectly reflecting the shaky ground felt in the moment of conception. The track ebbs and flows between some surprising harmonic twists, later on bringing the Hammond organ to the fore and swelling to a dramatic climax, permeated by backing vocal arrangements and glimmering electric guitar.
Sunny Side Up is taken from Pete Josef’s forthcoming third album, to be released in 2024, recorded in his self-built and self-sustainable studio cabin in his garden. The exchange between studio and live has become a unifying force since the resurrection of his live quartet in 2022. This year will bring choice live shows, featuring the mercurial Eli Jitsuto from Bristol based outfit Snazzback on guitar and longtime collaborators Jihad Darwish on bass and Miguel Andrews on drums.