There’s a line about halfway through the title track of Peter Joly’s new album, Easy Has Never Been The Way, that resonates with me as something I’ve held to be true for most of my life: “Living and achieving with each other, is the closest thing to God that we’re ever going to find.” It’s a thesis of sorts for the album as it looks at humanity and tries to find slices of joy in these troubling times. This is an album I missed in 2021, among many others. It came out in October and I heard it for the first time just a couple days ago.
Joly reunites with the band from his debut album that came out back in 2016 for this long-awaited follow-up. Their contributions lay the foundation for the star of the show, which is Joly’s voice and splendid songwriting. Based on photos I would guess that Joly’s voice sounds a bit older than he actually is, which gives him a level of credibility that he never makes you question. An odd pairing that came to my mind thinking about his voice-Bob Weir and Randy Newman. If you’re a fan of either of those artists, Joly might be right up your alley.
I never stop being amazed at the talent that surrounds me here in Chicago and how much of it seems to come out of nowhere to surprise me. Peter Joly is a name I’ve heard over the years, but I never got around to checking out his music. Now that I have, I regret waiting so long. This album probably won’t end up on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums of All-Time when they redo their list in ten years, but it speaks to me and it could speak to you, too. Give it a chance over on his Bandcamp page. If you dig it and live in the area, you can catch him live at Fitzgerald’s on January 22nd. Info for the show is here (it’s a free show with a voluntary cover charge).