In 2020, Justin Ross has been keeping himself busy by creating and releasing some outstanding music. Tracks such as “Break My Heart” and “Walk Through The Pines” have been catching people’s attention. Now he has used these singles and more, to assemble his new album Into The Dark. It’s a collection of songs that he is proud of and is excited for the world to hear.
Opening things up is “Into The Dark”. Personally, this is the stand out track by far. It has a different vibe to the rest of the album, taking nothing away from what is to come. It opens up with a beautiful and haunting atmospheric sound. Straight away, it sets the anticipation. Soon, Ross comes in with the line, “Here I stand, staring out, into the night”. As he does, the delivery is effortless but filled with emotion. It is a trend that continues throughout the song.
Both the lyrics and the music flow naturally but are executed with maximum effect. Its soundtrack consists of guitar and a looped drum beat, a simple but mesmerising combination. Lyrically, Ross shares some compelling lines such as “25 years of this guitar is always let me down / It’s never lifted me up, never taking my feet off the ground / Let me meet my heroes but my heroes have always let me down”. Each verse has a lot to say and delivered delicately to reflect the mood. There are moments when he lets his vocals fly to add more power when required. It is a song that is allowed to take its time and let each moment breathe naturally. Its runtime is just under 6 minutes, but never does it feel it is too long. In fact, you do not want it to end.
The mood changes with the arrival of “Take you for a Ride” as he delivers his blend of country-rock. Its energy is infectious, thanks to the beats and outstanding riffs. He follows up with more of the same rock n roll goodness with “Take me back to Texas”. But, he raises the bar with “Right Back Up”, and it is clear to hear from its opening, set by his guitar. Ross’ vocals have a swagger throughout, especially when the hook arrives. His tone means business as he shares his words, “Well Take Me Down There Low To The Riverside / Holding Onto The Dark / I’ve Been Holding On Too Tight And Now I’m / Watching Your Red Tail Lights / Oh Disappear Over The Hill Baby.” Its bluesy quality is a delight on the ears.
Offering some fantastic harmonica comes “Loaded”, showing off more of his infectious rock vibes. Following up comes yet another stand out moment with “Dance With Me”. As soon as it opens up, it screams summer anthem, something you play in the car, with windows down and volume up. Its singalong energy hits home when the chorus arrives as the song’s title is powered out. Tracks like this stand out by how they feel, sometimes the words to describe why don’t do it justice. Ross slows the pace down with “Bottom of My Heart”. In doing so, he lets his softer and emotive vocals show off their talents.
Into The Dark shines a light on every area of Justin Ross’ songwriting talents. It shows there is nothing but quality to be found.
Next up is a dark horse with “Stay with Me”. Its low-key sound is a little different to those which came before it. However, there is something subtle about Ross’ vocals that makes it a grower. Especially in the way he delivers the lines “Stay with me please”. Not sure what it is, but you got to love a song that includes a saxophone. Well, Ross features this instrument with “Break My Heart”. It appears first during its intro, as it creates a mood reminiscence of the classic Baker Street. It reappears during moments as the story continues. However, it burst back into action towards the latter part of the track. When it does, it sounds so damn good!
Ross’ guitar kicks things off with style with “Devil at my Back Door”. It then intertwines with his vocals to give this moment some attitude. “Walk through the Pines” offers some more of those infectious big chorus’ which make you want to sing along. Bringing this impressive album to a close comes “Drink the Water”, which mixes country, rock and some gospel elements (thanks to some great work on the keys). It is the perfect way to wrap things up as it highlights the infectious nature of his music with killer hooks. As it comes to an end, it’s clear to hear why Justin Ross is proud of what he has created. So, do yourself a favour and press play on Into The Dark.