Life can take you in directions that you don’t plan or expect.
When Joshua Worden released the album Into Fog in 2014, he didn’t expect to spend three years on its follow-up. “A lot of stuff has happened between then and now,” he explains. “I got married, bought a house, completely renovated it. All this ‘life stuff’ started taking up more of my time that I was devoting to music, as it often does when you’re in your 30s and having to grow up a little bit.”
He never gave up on music, but he found that his ideas were developing at a slower pace than they had in the past.“ These songs, these ideas, they were cinders… They were always burning slowly under my day to day. It just took a really long time for them to finally come to light.”
Now that they have, it’s time for Worden’s music to shine once again. His new EP, Cinders, features his signature multifaceted sound. There are the smooth, hip-hop-influenced beats and the melodies and harmonies that reflect a variety of influences – R&B, pop, trip-hop, chillwave and more. Just as importantly, there are the imagistic, tantalizing lyrics, which draw upon singer-songwriter usages without becoming self-indulgent.
Recorded at his home studio in Atlanta, Cinders is the fruit of a long, deeply introspective period.
“Some of the reasons I make music have simplified,” Worden says. “I don’t have a lot of the same pressures of worrying about, you know, ‘How is this going to be received? Is this going to be successful or not? What is this going to do for my music career?’ It’s more doing it for myself—discovering truths, figuring things out about life through music.”
That makes Cinders a worthy successor to Into Fog, whose 12 tracks evoked special moments in Worden’s life. The four songs on the new EP continue in this vein. “It came naturally to use them as a means of looking back at things in my life. And thinking about what it means to live and die. Very meditative process.”
You don’t need to know Worden’s whole history to connect with his songs, though. “The lyrics of the songs, I think those are fairly ambiguous,” he observes. “I think they could mean different things to different people.”
That’s one of Cinders’ great strengths. The lyrics conjure up rippling tides and mountain views, lost connections and new horizons. As the steady beats and the cascades of guitar and synthesizer hooks wash over you, a space forms where you can meditate on your own life and what it all means.
Joshua Worden’s music career brought him to Atlanta back in 2012. With an educational background in Jazz Guitar and English Literature, he has played countless gigs, earned critical acclaim and built a substantial following. Cinders promises to satisfy his current fans and attract new ones.
“Alone at a fire / Come out into the night…”