If you don’t know who Josh Hedley is, you have until April 20th to get right with that ahead of the release of his debut album on Third Man Records, Mr. Jukebox. A long-time favorite of country fans that know their stuff, a fixture of Lower Broadway before and after it became a tourist hellhole by holding forth at Robert’s Western World and other haunts to attempt to keep traditional country alive in that godforsaken corridor, and a fiddling sideman for Justin Townes Earle and Jonny Fritz just to name a few, Joshua Hedley is finally cashing in on years and years of dues paid.
“It’s not a throwback,” Hedley says of the fiercely classic sound of the new album. “It sounds new because it is new, and it sounds the way it sounds because it’s the only thing I know how to do. I can’t write a song that sounds different. Classic country is like a suit. Nothing about a men’s suit has changed in like 100 years. Classic never goes out of style. Something can’t be a throwback if it’s never been out of style.”
Originally from Florida, Josh Hedley began playing at local VFW and American Legion halls at the age of 12 with fellow bandmates all in their 40’s. At 19-years-old, he moved to Nashville and began sneaking into Robert’s Western World where he became a sideman, performer, and eventually a frontman, earning the moniker “The Mayor of Lower Broadway” (from Saving Country Music, at least).
Known primarily as a fiddler for years, Hedley hid a great country voice that he lends to original songs he’s released sporadically over the years on EP’s and short-run releases. His new release on the Jack White-owned label will be Hedley’s first shot at capturing a national audience. The nine originals and a cover of “When You Wish Upon A Star” were produced by Skylar Wilson and Jordan Lehning, and fleshed out by the instrumentation of Jeremy Fetzer (Steelism) on guitar, Eddie Lange on steel guitar, Michael Rinne on bass, Jon Radford on drums/percussion and Micah Hulscher on piano/organ.
“I just want people to remember they have feelings, and that they’re valid,” says Hedley. “Not everything is Coors Light and tailgates. There are other aspects of life that aren’t so great that people experience. They’re part of life, part of what shapes people. And that’s worth noting.”
Joshua Hedley has released the title track ahead of the April 20th release, and it’s an absolutely scorching and staunchly traditional country crooner (see below). The album is also available for pre-order.
MR. JUKEBOX TRACK LIST
1. Counting All My Tears
2. Mr. Jukebox
3. Weird Thought Thinker
4. Let’s Take A Vacation
5. These Walls
6. I Never (Shed A Tear)
7. This Time
8. Don’t Waste Your Tears
9. Let Them Talk
10. When You Wish Upon A Star