From singing his heart out along to Garth Brooks’ albums as a kid, Josh Gallagher did not know he would one day be in rehearsal as a finalist for The Voice TV show with Brooks himself telling Josh he has what IT takes. Josh is a self-taught guitar player with determination to make his dreams happen now. As the Nashville crowd applauded the down to earth man with a contagious energy for life, I hopped up on stage at Puckett’s to interview Josh on his musical journey.
Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?
A. “I started playing guitar when I was ten. My dad got me my first guitar. I taught myself how to play guitar; I never took a lesson. I was always intrigued by music and was in rock bands when I was younger. I started playing back home in Pennsylvania. I thought maybe I could do this as a career, so I gave it a shot!”
Q. How did you make the decision to move to Nashville?
A. “After living in Pittsburg I moved back home and started playing in local bars. Each crowd and venue kept getting bigger. My friends, family and fans would tell me all the time that I need to go to Nashville and chase my dream. I was working a full-time job, playing every weekend and having a lot of fun. I didn’t ignore those comments at first, but brushed them off for a while. Then it hit me that I could really give this a shot. I love doing it (music) and if I could call it a career and have fun then it’s not a job.”
With the support of his wife, Lindsey, they headed to Music City. “It happened to work out that my wife and I met in Pennsylvania, she wanted to move out of state anyways when she graduated from college,” says Gallagher.
Q. How would you describe your musical style?
A. “It’s hard for me on what to call our sound or style of music. It’s definitely influenced by country music, but I grew up playing in rock bands. I love that heavy distortion, big loud cabs and right in your face rock n’ roll. So if we can mix hard heavy rock n’ roll with 90’s to early 2000’s country music sound, that’s what we’re trying to do and find new sounds overtime. The original music we were playing a year ago is different from what we are playing now. We have evolved and are constantly trying to find new sounds and tones to make us different.”
“Josh is definitely somebody that I can hear on the radio right now. He is definitely the guy that fits in what is popular in country music.”— BLAKE SHELTON
Encouraged by Blake Shelton’s words, Josh values making his unique sound. “Everybody out there is going to find their own way somehow. We are going to go the hard way and pave our own path, find our own sound and eventually be different from what people are used to hearing on country radio,” says Gallagher.
Q. What was the inspiration for your latest project? What does it mean to you?
A. “The new single ‘How Bout You?’ will be released in February. This song was written with two good buddies, Mark Addison Chandler and Will Duvall. We sat down and were throwing around some ideas and Will started playing a little riff on his guitar, which is the opening guitar lick on the song. Once we started writing it, all three of us fell in love with it. That song came out of nowhere and they say the best songs come when you’re not expecting them.”
Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing, recording or performing music? Tell me more about the process.
A. “It’s cool being a singer and songwriter because you get the chance to go sit in a room with some of your best friends and try to make magic happen. When you make it happen you can then take that magic to the studio with your band, put it on record, cut a vocal on top of it and go make that same magic on stage. You get to perform it to people that may not know how the process goes. I get enjoyment out of the entire process.”
“Josh, you have this effortlessness that makes you seem like you’re not here to make it, it feels like you already have. You seem like there is this place for you on country radio that I feel is just waiting to have you there. It was amazing, great performance, great usage of the stage.”— MILEY CYRUS
As he impressed Miley Cyrus on The Voice stage, Josh knows what happens off the stage is all preparation for what happens on it. “I’ve been focusing this past year on looking at things from a songwriter’s standpoint instead of the artist; to go into a write with an open mind.
We have a lot of songs that are very good. I may never cut them, but if somebody else likes them they can cut them. There’s a cool dynamic about being a singer and songwriter, you get to make a living and love what you do. It’s incredible and leaves me speechless a lot of the time, I can’t believe I get to do this for a living,” says Gallagher.
Q. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?
A. “While I was on The Voice, we went into rehearsals the week Garth Brooks was there. An impactful moment for me was when he put his hands on my shoulders and said, ‘You have IT… If I’m a manager, if I’m a producer, if I’m a record label – that’s the guy I want because he has a career in front of him.’ That was impactful for me because my Dad used to listen to Garth Brooks all the time when I was younger. Dad and I used to lay on the floor, just blare Garth Brooks cd’s and sing our hearts out. I’ve always been a fan and looked up to him all my life, so for him to put his hands on my shoulders and say something that meaningful really hit me the most.”
“This kid, as soon as he opens his mouth – you believe him,” said Brooks, as he insisted, “If I’m a manager, if I’m a producer, if I’m a record label – that’s the guy I want because he has the career in front of him.”— GARTH BROOKS
Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with taking the steps to make it a reality?
A. “We are all still struggling to get our voices heard that’s for sure. You have to absolutely love it first of all. If it’s a hobby of yours that’s awesome, but if you think you really want to do it for a living, go for it to the fullest extent. When you fall in love with something you do for a living, then it’s not work. You wake up everyday and count your blessings if you get to that point. I’m still counting my blessings everyday, we still have a long way to go, but we are having a good time on the way there. So I would say, if you love it, do it. It’s going to be scary but you got to pull the trigger. Don’t tell yourself you’ll do it next month or even tomorrow, whether it’s moving to Nashville or picking up a guitar or singing.”
“I love the fact that you are such a strong country singer. I see you being able to be a guy who releases huge country smashes. I think the sky’s the limit for you. Tonight a country star was on that stage doing that. That was amazing. I am blown away by you.”— ADAM LEVINE
Knowing the sky is the limit, Josh pushes himself to accomplish his goals and encourages others to do the same. “You have to be bold and push yourself outside of your comfort zone to get there. When you make yourself do it and push yourself, you find it’s easy. Be persistent, it’s going to be hard, I still struggle with stuff. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. People are going to tell you the rest of your life, whether you are a musician, a principal, a plumber, a race car driver or whatever, that you aren’t good enough. So don’t let their negativity bring you down, rise above it. Take the high road and then a few years from then you can say ‘I told you!’ says Gallagher.
Q. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2018? What long-term goals do you have for your career?
A. “Our main goal is to get the single out, get it pushed through marketing and social media and out to radio. We want to get it out there the right way so a lot of people can hear it. I would also love to release a full-length album. There isn’t a timeline on it yet, which is great for my first album. I think if you’re going to do it, do it right. Plan it out and ask what’s the direction we want to go, do these songs fit, what songs do we need on top of the ones we have? I think the plan is to release the single first, then an EP and keep fans engaged. I’m really excited about this year. I really want to connect with my fans; it’s an incredible thing when you can get up on stage, whether it be for 20 or 20,000 people and connect with them…I’m a very lucky person.”
You can listen to Josh’s released singles on iTunes, “Pick Any Small Town,” “We Always Had,” and “Ain’t No Angels.” His live performances from “The Voice” reached top spots on iTunes and were downloaded by millions.
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Photo Credit to: facebook.com/joshgallmusic