The Interview Featuring Josh Ward

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Currently sitting at number 3 on the Texas Country Chart, Josh Ward finds himself in a familiar place. Josh is about to notch the 5th number 1 single from his most recent album Holding Me Together. Josh is a true traditionalist who represents the kind of country music that so many people have fallen in love with. This summer Josh will be joining fellow Texas artist Cody Johnson on his west coast tour. A special thanks to Josh for being the first person I have ever interviewed for the blog!

You list legends like Keith Whitley, Chris LeDoux and Merle Haggard among others as your musical influences. Do you try to incorporate some of their sound into your music intentionally or is it more subconscious for you when you write?

It’s subconscious I think, but those are the guys that have always inspired me, so I tend to stay in that same vein of country music.

What current artists do you find yourself listening to and drawing inspiration from?

I’ve got a lot of good buddies that are putting out great music right now and I tend to listen to them when I’m at home or on the road. Cody Johnson, Jake Worthington, Randall King, Dustin Sonnier, those guys are always on rotation on my playlists.

While on the rodeo circuit you honed your craft as an artist and saw how much the crowds enjoyed your music. Is that what propelled you into a career in music?

Yes, 100%.  I fell in love with being able to entertain a crowd, see them enjoy the show, getting their feedback and their support pushed me to where I’m at today.

At a time when much of country music has moved away from its roots, you have developed a classic country sound with your first 2 albums. How important is it to you to stay true to that sound?

It’s extremely important to me, it’s who I am. While others get told what to write, what to record, I have 100% control of what I’m putting out there, and what people are paying for.

How did your childhood growing up in Montgomery Texas influence your music?

I grew up with my Grandpa Hubert “Pop” and my Uncle JL, they raised me. They were always listening to country music…Merle Haggard, George Jones, Faron Young, Marty Robbins – from as far back as I can remember.

In August you will be touring with fellow country artist Cody Johnson for some west coast dates. How excited are you to get to tour with someone like that? Did you ever think that you would be touring with an artist like Cody?

Cody and I have known each other for 10+ years, we’ve shared many stages together here in Texas. This will be my first run with Cody out of state and we’re pumped about it!  It’s gonna get Western for sure! It’s always an honor to get the call to go out and perform with Cody and his band. 

“Whiskey and Whitley” is a pretty special song. Could you talk about how you discovered this gem?

I heard Kevin Denney perform it live years ago at the Blue Bird Cafe, that’s where I found the song years later when I ran into Buddy Owens & Kevin who wrote it along with Mark Narmore. They gave me the go ahead to record it on the second album, that was really cool. Then we released it and it went #1 and also earned the Texas Regional Radio Song of the year in 2016.  I was honored to give that song some life and get that award for those guys. It’s always going to be a favorite of mine, and the crowd loves it equally as much.

For people who haven’t gotten to see you live, what is a Josh Ward show like? What are some of the things you look to bring to your tours?

It’s “COUNTRY” – Songs you can dance to, songs you can cry to, songs you can love to, it’s a high energy honky-tonk show, I want to give the fans what they paid their hard earned money for and that’s a good time.

Your most recent album Holding Me Together already has 4 number 1 singles and may have a 5th soon with “Change My Mind,” so are there any plans for your next album?

Yes, we’re gearing up and the next album is currently in the writing and song selection process. I’m making a few trips up to Nashville when we get back from the West Coast Run, late August. Excited to get together with some great song-writing buddies up there.  We’re anticipating giving the fans a new album in early 2018.

 

Again a special thanks to Josh Ward for allowing me to interview him.

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Top 10 Current Country Artists

Since I am currently all caught up with the albums that I want to cover this week (next week is another story) I was thinking about different lists that I could make. I think lists can be fun to make and can be useful for the readers. So, I decided to make the least objective list that I could possibly come up with and do a top 10 list of current country artists. Now, I don’t want this to just be a list of all time greats like George Strait and Dolly Parton. I understand that they are still making music however, I wanted this to be a list of more current artists. For the purposes of the list, whether or not the artist is mainstream or independent is irrelevant. The only qualification is that they are a country artist who is semi current. This is just my personal top 10 artists at the moment so there was plenty of artists who could have been swapped. Feel free to comment, agree/disagree. Enjoy!

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10. Josh Turner: One of my all time favorite artists. The mainstream has certainly chased it’s share of trends over Josh Turner’s career however he has stayed true to his neo-traditional sound through it all.

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9. Miranda Lambert: Before The Weight of These Wings was released I would not have had Lambert on this list. However, when you combine her past work with the Weight of These Wings, it’s hard to argue that there are many better artists in the mainstream.

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8. Eric Church: Is there an artist in the mainstream that releases as many quality singles as Eric Church? Sure he’s not a traditional artist but, he makes great, modern country music and he actually has something to say!

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7. Aaron Watson: Perhaps the biggest country artist in Texas and for good reason. Watson does a fantastic job of combining radio sensible songs and powerful songs with a message in his albums. Even in his more modern sounding songs you can still hear tons of country instrumentation.

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6. Kacey Musgraves: Radio doesn’t deserve Kacey Musgraves. A fantastic neo traditional artist who refuses to compromise her art for the radio machine.

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5. Flatland Cavalry: The closest comparison to Flatland Cavalry would be the Turnpike Troubadours and boy is that a hell of a compliment. After only releasing about an album and a half’s worth of songs, they have already established themselves as one of country’s best groups.

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4. Sunny Sweeney: It’s hard to argue Sunny Sweeney isn’t one of country music’s best after her most recent masterpiece Trophy. The neo traditionalist is extremely honest and relateable in her music with loads of traditional instrumentation.

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3. Chris Stapleton: The biggest, most important moment in country music in recent memory was Chris Stapleton performing alongside Justin Timberlake at the 2015 CMA Awards. Stapleton has since become the biggest selling star in country music with perhaps the greatest voice in the genre. He has helped to prove the irrelevance of radio and the fact that people will pay for good music.

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2. Cody Johnson: Cody Johnson is country music. It’s rare that I go a day without listening to a Cody Johnson song. A true cowboy who mixes heartbreak and uptempo tracks with an undeniable country sound.

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1.  The Turnpike Troubadours: The Turnpike Troubadours are the greatest group/artist in country music. Their songs are written so brilliantly it makes you wonder how anyone could have written such brilliant songs. Musically lets just say if you don’t love the fiddle you may want to stay away from this Oklahoma based group.