Record Of The Week: Josh Gilligan’s ‘Go Around’

Josh Gilligan is a musician, songwriter and filmmaker based in Nashville. In addition to his solo work, he is also a member of and songwriting contributor to Liza Anne’s musical unit and a production partner with Nashville artist Thad Kopec, but these titles only scratch the surface of Gilligan’s involvement and influence in the Nashville music community. He’s a special kind of creative. He approaches his work in both music and film with a sense of reverence and respect for the art while, maintaining his humility throughout the creative process.

Gilligan’s debut EP Go Around, which arrives after a handful of standalone tracks, is yet another joint effort, featuring fellow Nashville music makers like Kyle Ryan and Matt Chancey. The five-song collection reflects Gilligan’s thoughtfulness in songwriting and his passion for artistic collaboration. Gilligan says that when the goal of music-making is genuine and altruistic, it allows more space for creativity. That was the case with his song “So Clear,” which was co-written with fellow Nashville songwriter Madi Diaz and features her vocals.

Written in 2020, when the world was forced into a period of personal reflection due to the pandemic, Go Around‘s lyrics explore heavy topics like systemic inequity and power imbalances, but Gilligan delivers those themes in a reserved, laidback and often sweet way. The final outcome is a set of soft, yet assured, anthems to collectivism. This call for mindfulness is prevalent throughout the EP, but especially on the song “Within.”

Packaged perfectly with a lush, ’70s soul-inspired rhythm section that blends effortlessly with Gilligan’s laid-back delivery, Go Around is a warm offering that feels familiar and forward-looking at the same time, a stylistic approach he develops further with each musical release. Clearly influenced by sounds of the ‘70s and ‘80s, he fuses soft rock arrangements with modern production elements to create his unique, contemporary approach to pop-rock.