Joshua Hedley Fasts Forward to the 90’s on New Album ‘Neon Blue’

photo: Joshua Black Wilkins

Considered by many as the Mayor of Lower Broadway in Nashville, singer and songwriter Joshua Hedley has made a name for himself by keeping the history and sound of true country music alive through his music, both as a performer (you can catch him Friday afternoons and Monday nights at Robert’s Western World), and as a recording artist, releasing his debut album Mr. Jukebox in 2018.

Mr. Jukebox was very much a classic, neotraditional effort by Mr. Hedley, hearkening back to the Golden Era of country music indicative of the 50’s and early 60’s, and the Countrypolitan sound. But for his next trick, he’s moving things up a few decades, and is working to revitalize the country sounds of the late 80’s and early 90’s that are making a retro resurgence at the moment.

“The last bastion of country music was the early 1990s, roughly 1989 through 1996,” says Hedley. “You could turn on the radio and immediately know you’re hearing a country song. You could still hear steel guitar and fiddle. But there was a hard fork around 1996 or ‘97, when country veered off into pop territory. ‘Neon Blue’ asks, What if that fork never happened? What if country kept on sounding like country?” 

The answer is what you hear in the title track of Hedley’s new album called Neon Blue, released ahead of the album’s April 22nd release date on New West Records. The 12 songs were produced by Skylar Wilson and Jordan Lehning, whose father Kyle Lehning was responsible for all of those Randy Travis records, and a few from George Strait too. Kyle Lehning also mixed the record, so you know it comes with that distinctive 90’s touch Joshua Hedley was going for.

Under a similar philosophy, instead of calling his close friends from Lower Broadway to play on the record, Hedley used Nashville’s hot shot session musicians to get that slick, but twangy sound the era was known for. “The sound is modern, but it’s still discernibly country,” Hedley says. “All the players on this record are the people who are playing on Top 40 hits. They’re the professionals playing two or three sessions a day, and it was crazy to see them work…I came in with skeletons and they put flesh on them. They made them into human beings.”

But don’t worry, there will still be plenty of that vintage Lower Broadway and Robert’s Western World mystique to this record, including a very limited edition of 150 “Robert’s Fried Bologna” color vinyl editions of Neon Blue autographed by Joshua Hedley that will be available at independent record retailers across Tennessee.

“It’s the last holdout,” Hedley says of Robert’s Western World. “It’s exactly the same now as it was when I started playing there seventeen years ago. It never doesn’t feel like home because it never doesn’t feel familiar.”

Neon Blue is now available for pre-order.


1. Broke Again
2. Country & Western
3. Old Heartbroke Blues
4. The Last Thing In The World
5. Down To My Last Lie
6. Free (One Heart)
7. Neon Blue
8. Bury Me With My Boots On
9. Found In A Bar
10. Let’s Make A Memory
11. Wonder If You Wonder
12. River In The Rain

© 2023 Saving Country Music