Bringing together elements of folk, pop and indie-roc, Joseph Hunter Duncan shares intimate, intense and relatable music with the masses. Inspired by the likes of Jeff Buckley and Damien Rice, one would imagine desperation in powerful vocals and engaging melodies; one would be right. Based on his Spotify, Joseph Hunter Duncan has released original material for several years, but I believe it is his most recent work that has him labelled a rising star. Featured on The Other Side Reviews, The Further, Ghetto Blaster Magazine, Roadie Music and various radio stations, the US-based singer-songwriter is turning heads on a global scale. One of the latest additions to his discography is the single ‘Always On My Mind’.
The first track off his experimental album EP III, ‘Always On My Mind’ swirls 90s grunge with contemporary indie-rock. A hint of Radiohead can be heard in what is otherwise a rather unique melodic arrangement. Soothing, languid and easy to listen to, ‘Always On My Mind’ tips you into a comfortable sonic blanket; however, Joseph showcases his innovativeness by harmonically combining comfort with desperation. Yes, the track has a calming quality to it, but it is the heartfelt sound that enhances the significant yearning and pain in the track. It is the melody that not only emphasises despair but also increases the poignancy of the song and the emotion.
Written from the basement of his parents’ house, Joseph captures the brutal emotions of introspective sentimentality in this well-crafted song. Joseph shares that “this song is a plea to my past self not to go back to my old ways, habits and behaviours.” In the style of Jeff Buckley, personal narratives increase a sense of intimacy connecting with listeners on a deeper level. While Joseph’s vocals do have a warmth behind their richness, his artistry is seen as he incorporates painful pleading in the bold tones. It’s interesting how the nostalgic track can provoke various emotions within a single melody.
As Joseph mentioned, ‘Always On My Mind’ is an introspective reflection on bad habits; however, it is not entirely melancholic with underlying aspects of hopefulness and empowerment. Joseph explains that the song is “…to remind myself that I can stay on track with my family, my loved ones and myself.” It is always lovely to hear a despairing melody influenced by a positive message; ‘Always On My Mind’ is exactly this.