Introducing: Joshua Roberts

Houston, TX-based guitarist and singer/songwriter Joshua Roberts (born in Ayrshire, Scotland) recently revealed the lead single, ‘Spin the World (Around Again),’ off of his third album, ‘Lost & Found’. Here’s the lowdown on Joshua from the man himself…

What are the origins of the band, and how long have you been playing together?

Caleb Jones and I have been playing together since we were in high school in the late 90s. Our first band was called Willis Brownstone, and we were an alternative rock-based jam band. We put out two albums as a band: Summer Salt in 2004 and Without Hesitation in 2007. It was in 2007 though that the band started to go in different directions, we stopped touring, and I ended up recording my first solo album, Concede. The album features Caleb on bass, and the drummer from Willis Brownstone, Jeremy Bryant. In 2018 I released an EP with Caleb called Electroharmonic, and now this year my third album is out, Lost & Found. It has Caleb on bass, which is just automatic at this point, and our friend Bryan Zannotti on drums. The album also features some great guest artists like guitarists David Pulkingham and Rodney Pyeatt.

What should people expect when they check your music out? How would you describe it?

I describe the music as “Mixtape”. A little bit of this, a little bit of that… All usually with a rock and roll or Americana foundation. When I was young, we would make mixtapes of our favorite songs and usually, the genres were all over the place. It was always easy for me to get bored with just one genre. Then add that my parents were in a Christian folk band in the 70s, I started really learning music and theory in junior high in a jazz band, and I’ve always loved listening to both classical music and rock music. So, my influences are so diverse it was hard for my music to not mimic that. I go from alt-rock to jazzy Americana to blues and then wherever the music takes me. I don’t aim for it to be that way when I write and record, but it just comes out that way and I roll with it. So, my albums and my shows are like listening to a mixtape. It doesn’t really settle on one genre or sound for too long yet it all somehow sounds like it fits next to each other.

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?!

The first gig with the most recent incarnation of my band, the Joshua Roberts Trio, was in early 2021. It went well, and we were well received by the Houston audience. I am based out of Houston, and we play a lot in the area and around Texas. Houston is a great city with a great music scene that’s fun to be a part of. It’s really great to be touring with the songs from the new album and seeing how much

The new music scene is bursting at the seams at the minute with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out to build a name for themselves?

There’s an idea I’ve been trying to figure out for like 20 years. My friend Rodney Pyeatt told me about it: you have to be first, better, or different. Get all three right and you’ll be as big as the Beatles. That’s a saying I always think of when attempting to stand out and make a name for myself and I think it’s a great idea for new and emerging artists to consider. It’s not easy to be any of the three. You have to work hard. You have to be creative. But I think it’s a worthy pursuit.

What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?

I’m currently touring and promoting the new album Lost & Found with my trio. We play all the songs on the new album, and we play stuff from Concede and Electroharmonic too. We play mainly around the Texas area and the best place to find our dates is at www.JoshuaRoberts.us or on my social media pages. The main thing now is getting word out about the new album which is available everywhere you buy or stream your music.

I am also performing on Texas Music Cafe soon which will be really cool. That will be filmed in Waco, Texas, and they will broadcast the program on TV stations around the world and online. I am doing that performance as a trio with the one and only Caleb Jones on bass, and our friend Chris Rivera on drums. Chris Rivera is a Grammy Award-winning drummer who I’ve known since high school. Caleb currently tours on bass for Wade Bowen, and Chris tours with a group called Los TexManiacs and with Peter Rowan.

In terms of a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel you would be best suited to open for?

I’d love to open for Blacktop Mojo. Their Texas Grunge sound is awesome, and even though their music is a little heavier than some of my stuff, I think we would fit really well together. I’ve been a fan of Blacktop Mojo for years. It would be great to do a show with them. I think there are a lot of acts I think I’d fit well with. The new Brandon Boyd solo and Eddie Vedder solo stuff would be a great fit for me as an opener too.

Excluding yourself, which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?

Chris Castaneda/The Castaneda Project is one for sure. He has this guitar-shredding electrified blues sound that’s really awesome and fun to watch live. It’s great, high-energy, guitar heavy music. Incredible guitar skills and outstanding songwriting. He has put out a few albums over the years like Church 4 Lovers, T.R.U.T.H., and he also did this cool concept album called The Electronoids.

What are your own first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

There was a VHS tape of Stevie Ray Vaughan called Live at the El Mocambo that I saw as a kid, maybe I was 11 or so. It’s really an amazing performance by Stevie early in his career. He’s so in touch with the music and the guitar, it’s like you can see the music pouring out of his veins and in the sweat dripping down his face. I knew then that I wanted to do what he was doing. I wanted to play guitar, loud and fast, and with that insane kind of passion. I play a rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s 3rd Stone from the Sun at a lot of my shows because of Stevie doing it in that performance. After seeing that, I wanted to sing, and to write, and to perform like Stevie. That video really had an impact on me. I already knew about music and had already been introduced to guitar, but that had a huge impact on my life.

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

Umphrey’s McGee. They are my favorite band around right now. They’re out of Chicago. The guitar playing is top-notch, really fresh arrangements, and the songwriting is very unique and creative. The drummer Kris Myers is one of my favorite rock drummers ever. I’ve seen them perform dozens of times going all the way back to Dallas in early 2005, and every show has been an amazing experience.

What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?

Mental Health is an important social issue to me. I have had to deal with anxiety and depression issues my whole adult life and I think it’s important for people to understand that it is more normal and more common than many think. So many people deal with anxiety, depression, and so many other mental health issues. I hope to see it become more openly talked about and to see more people get the help they need.

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Probably the new Halsey album she did with Trent Reznor that came out last year: If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. Really cool to see her go in such a different direction than what I have heard of hers on the radio in the past. There’s some cool stuff that Reznor and Halsey came up with that were total throwbacks to the 90s and to Nine Inch Nails. The album is really Mixtape. Mainly rock throughout but there’s a hip-hop vibe to one song, there’s an acoustic kind of country to another, there’s really pop-sounding one, but yeah, a whole lot of rock and roll. I love the versatility!

Although 2021 was another year to forget, there were some amazing new albums released, what would be your album of last year?

Another 2021 favorite of mine is the instrumental album Umphrey’s McGee put out called You Walked Up Shaking In Your Boots But You Stood Tall And Left A Raging Bull. First of all, I love the title. And second, there’s some awesome songs on there and I’ve always been a big fan of their instrumental music. The album really shows off their talents and their creative abilities.

What does 2022 hold for you?

It started off great with the release of my new album, Lost & Found, which was on Feb 22. And now touring and doing press to get the word out about it. And I am already writing new material for the next album I’ll record, probably starting later this year or early 2023.

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

I am on social media and would love to connect!!

Website: www.JoshuaRoberts.us

Facebook: Facebook.com/MillportArts

Instagram: Instagram.com/MillportArts

Twitter: Twitter.com/MillportArts

YouTube: YouTube.com/MillportArts

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/62SQLJgYIdblauTFP7knz6

Apple: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/joshua-roberts/1489225681

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