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Taps & Tunes on the Corner – 9/2 – Josh Smith
September 2, 2022 @ 6:00 am - 7:00 pm
In his day job, the gig that pays the bills until his band — Handsome and the Humbles — gets the recognition (and the payday) it so richly deserves, Josh Smith spends his days listening.
He’s a physical therapist assistant, and that merry twinkle in his eyes and ever-present smile puts his patients at ease. As he encourages them and puts them through the routines that bring their frail and wounded bodies back to health, they open up to the East Tennessee boy, and in turn, he gives them his mind and his imagination as well as his hands.
“It gets you thinking about things,” he says. “Hearing about people who have been through a lot more than I have makes me think, ‘How would I handle that? Am I as good as this person?’ I’m a lucky guy — I’ve got a great family and great friends, and I wonder sometimes what my life would be if I had to go through what they have.”
It would be easy to think that “We’re All the Same,” the new album by Handsome and the Humbles, is a collection of those stories, filtered through Smith’s keen eye of observation and the band’s deft musical chops that fit the prototypical Americana mold. But that’s too simplistic: These are songs written by a soul that’s older than the years of the body that carries it, played by a group of guys who have grown as instrumentalists into a capable ensemble that renders each track with the sort of nuance necessary to embolden the message. This isn’t your prototypical three-chord country-rock, nor is it a rehash of 2016’s “Have Mercy.” In these troubled times, when division and discord pass for normalcy and disagreement has become a yawning chasm of separation, “We’re All the Same” embraces the idea that hope can bridge that gap.
“It’s about feeling uncomfortable, and realizing we all feel that,” Smith says. “It’s about recognizing that we all feel these things we may never talk about.”