Three years in the making, Americana singer-songwriter and “Nashville’s New Outlaw” Josh Gray has just released “Songs of the Highway,” his debut LP that was funded 100% through a 30-day Kickstarter campaign. Josh recorded the record here at home on the classic analog recording gear at The Bomb Shelter studio. Listen to the Willie & Waylon-inspired outlaw sound of the title track here.
The accolades are quickly flowing in for one helluva first record. Josh Gray is joining artists like his friend Jason Erie in a new class of original Music City songwriters penning poignant songs that make you think about this world we are living in.
We thank Josh for working the usual 11 Questions and look forward to seeing him in East Nashville for an album release at The Groove record store on May 8 and for a show at the Radio Cafe on July 26. He also has an upcoming private house concert in Murfreesboro, and you can inquire about having your very own through email@example.com.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I was born in California, but I grew up in Maryland. I moved to Nashville in March 2016 because I wanted to challenge myself and become a better songwriter. I found some great friends and bandmates and the rest is history. We recorded a great album that I’m excited for people to hear on April 16.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
First album I bought myself was a Dinosaur Jr. CD, I think it was their Without a Sound album. I feel like I probably bought it at Tower Records in Rockville, MD back in the day. The last record I bought was Erin Rae’s new one Putting on Airs. I bought it online and got the vinyl.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
The first show I went to was Barry Louis Polisar at a library in Maryland. Looking back, he’s likely one of the reasons I subconsciously got into folk music. The last show I went to was to see Darrin Bradbury at Radio Cafe.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Man, I’d really like to see them add Guy Clark.
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
Coffee: I’d say 8th & Roast, the original location. Pizza: Five Points or Joey’s House of Pizza.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
This is a tough question because so many great albums have come out of Nashville. I would have to say Leonard Cohen’s Songs from a Room. For me there has never been a better songwriter. I live pretty close to Music Row so it’s still crazy to me that these great albums were recorded right down the street.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
If I’m playing a show in Nashville, I’m likely on the east side. I’d also want something fast, so I’d probably go to Five Points Pizza for a slice.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Alright, I’d say my friends Jason Erie, John Dennis and Holly Bruce. We all have unique sounds, and we all play our asses off. Come out to a show!
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
My favorite music venues to play are City Winery, Radio Cafe, Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge and Fond Object before it closed. I would say 5 Spot, but I haven’t gotten around to playing there yet, though I love seeing shows there.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
I can’t really name anyone honestly. We live in a city that everyone passes through eventually, so I can always see great shows. At the same time, if you live here and you’re doing well, you likely are spending most of your time on the road.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
I’m going to continue writing songs that I want to play. My audience will continue to grow as people come to appreciate what the band and I have created. There’s a lot of hard work ahead, and I have no delusions that it’ll happen tomorrow. But I’ve never run from hard work, and I’m in it for the long haul.
My new album Songs of the Highway comes out on April 16th everywhere you can buy music. I put my heart into these songs, and I think when you hear it you’ll see what I mean. Thanks for this interview Mike, and thanks to everyone out there reading this who has supported me along the way.