B&L: What animal do you associate yourself with (given our ties to oxen)?
Joshua James: I suppose I would be of feline descent. A cat with strong social inclinations whilst maintaining a personal requirement of time.
B&L: Why music? Why do you seek it? Why do you create it? How’d it come calling to you?
James: Music is a part of a lot of us, within us, whether as a listener, a player, an appreciator, or the like. My participation is somewhat beyond my realm of control. I sing for many reasons; personal / mental, for my babies and lady, for my intrigue and her demanding interest in “what comes next.”
B&L: What’s the making of a great show?
James: Human connection. The giver and the receiver of the human dilemma.
B&L: Let’s talk about your brand spanking new record, “My Spirit Sister.” What sort of goals did you have for yourself when you set out to make this record?
James: To finish recording the songs and then release them. I suppose we have already achieved the goal in that case.
B&L: We’re pretty excited the record comes out the very same day you’re playing this show. What excites you about the prospect of having this record out for the world to hear?
James: Books, writings, poems, and songs, to some degree, all have a common thread of “humanness” to them. Written by, conceived by, released by other human beings, that have had – at least most likely – common experiences to you. And in this mind frame of “we are in this together” we learn, grow, question, cry, and perhaps laugh at the fact that we are alive. I am searching for that type of connection whenever I sing a song I suppose.
B&L: Is songwriting an easy or arduous process for you? Are you a fly by the seat of your pants kind of writer, or do you have to schedule “office hours”?
James: I write when I:
- HAVE TO (For a project or when co-writing with other writers)
- NEED TO (For a thought that has crept in, and is begging for a platform to stand from. Who am I to deny her prowess?)
B&L: What are you looking for folks to take away from the music of Joshua James when they place themselves in a position to experience it?
James: Contemplation, love, sadness, question, hope.
B&L: What’s one tune (or, heck, a couple) that exists out there in the ether that blows you away that you kind of wish you had written yourself?
James: See: Songs by Townes Van Zandt. All of them.
B&L: What can folks expect when they come out to see you perform at the Word Barn on April 7th?
James: Four boys singing songs together, looking for a lifeline. Brotherhood in its finest form, without anticipation for the inevitable “end of the road” (death).
B&L: You’ve your own record label, Northplatte Records. What are the challenges associated with handling your own label? Do you enjoy that sort of work?
James: Northplatte Records is more of a vanity label at this point. There was a time where we had many releases that we were working, but life got busy and artists moved on to bigger and better avenues in which they could release their music, and so it felt time to let it rest. Resurrection doesn’t seem likely, but neither does life.
B&L: Do you enjoy the road? Or do you prefer to be at home making, not only your own music, but producing for others?
James: I love the summer and the winter, both for different reasons, and one doesn’t shine as bright without the other. So it is with tour and home life. I love being home – with my babies, my animals, lover and family. By the same token, there is a void within me when I am not somewhat forced into a vagabonding situation from time-to-time. Tour fills this void with the cup flowing over. I am always, always, taken aback when I leave for tour. The kindness of strangers and the willingness of the resilient heart that is found within them is a miracle in every sense of the word.
B&L: Question number 12. If you could have a dozen of anything, what would that dozen of something be?
Joshua James will celebrate the release of his new record, “My Spirit Sister” at the Word Barn in Exeter on Friday, April 7th. Tickets and further information can be found here.