Hello Josh, it is a great privilege to meet someone that has your passion,
talents, and vision in music.
It has been mentioned that you started playing the piano at the age of 7.
Were you required to take piano lessons like many kids or was this a passion
I was always intrigued by the piano when I was a kid. My aunt had a piano that I
loved when I was six or so. I think she started giving me my first few lessons
and eventually she gave me that old upright when she had to move into a smaller
home. I remember my mom started me with an actual piano teacher shortly
thereafter. Even though I learned to read music at a young age, I was always
able to play along with recordings by ear. As far back as I can remember, I
could pick out chords and melodies this way. I was never pushed to pursue music
at all. It was simply something that set me on fire as kid and I think I've
still got that same passion. Musicians were all around me also. My dad, aunt,
brother, grandfather, and uncle were all musicians and singers so it seemed
natural for me to learn from them and start playing.
How many years have you been involved in the musical world
professionally and how did you get your foot into the proverbial door?
I started playing weddings and clubs when I was in middle school. After fielding
several offers to tour as a keyboard player with various acts in Virginia, I
decided to graduate high school a year early to pursue music full-time. It was a
scary decision and looking back, it could've totally been the wrong thing to do.
Not going to college has always been something I regret a little but I wouldn't
change a thing at this point. I started touring and opened my own business in
music at age 18 and I've toured the world, played with my heroes, and made a
living this way every since! As far as getting my foot in the door, I played
constantly. I performed in every little club there was around the SW Virginia
area and I think that allowed people to see and hear me quickly leading to gigs
touring with acts like Billy "Crash" Craddock, The Embers, The Kings, and
country group Cimmaron to name a few. I learned from everyone I toured with and
tried to save every dime I could along the way because it was and still can be
extremely hard to survive off the music business.
As an established artist and song writer, which was more of a challenge
for you personally to start in your career?
I guess it was tougher for me to break through and have a voice as an artist and
not just a sideman or back up musician. When you sing lead and harmonies well,
play guitar, piano, Hammond organ, Clavinet, and various other instruments, and
you've spent several years as a part of a band playing mostly cover songs or
backing up country singers, it's hard to stand up and say "I'm a lead
singer...I'm a songwriter and entertainer!" People got to know me as a strong
member of their bands but not as their front guy. As far as songwriting is
concerned, I've always written songs. I think I probably started writing chord
and melody ideas the second I started fooling with the piano. Songwriting is
definitely a craft that you nurture and get better at over time. I started
writing southern rock-feeling tunes, gospel tunes, and eventually got into
writing beach and R&B songs for some of the east coast dance bands. After that,
I began working with Mountain Heart and all of a sudden I started writing
bluegrass material for other acts. I took all of that experience and went to
work at some publishing houses here in Nashville where I honed in on the more
commercial side of songwriting.