Life can influence music as we draw inspiration from our own life experiences to create art. One can share thoughts, moments of their lives, or even complete pictures with just music alone. But also, music can influence our life. This is evident in the impulse we find in ourselves to create music and adjust our time in the day, even if it means finding a tiny bit of time in a busy schedule, to quell our desire to make music. Such seems to be the case in Josh Martin’s new album Notes From The American Rat Race. Written and recorded entirely in his backyard shed, this upcoming release is a recollection of day-to-day thoughts, feelings, and soundscapes with a personal touch that is able to capture us through its marvelous instrumentation and storytelling.
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Josh Martin has been writing music for 20 years. Influenced by artists such as Leonard Cohen, The National, Sufjan Stevens, and William Tyler, his sound aims to capture various genres such as folk rock, country, and ambient. However, as it is a blend of different genres, it is unfair to just call it by one of those names. It goes deeper than that: It questions our existence and our place in the universe. As such, Josh Martin calls his style “cosmic folk”, a name that without a doubt does it justice. While listening to his music, images of the stars, space and the galaxy invade our mind, making us feel as if we were floating around in an endless dimension.
“I would be on my daily walk to work and get a new idea for a riff or lyric and jot it down on my phone. The three ambient songs on the album are actually meant to represent the three milestones on my daily walk to work across Lake Merrit in Oakland California. The first marker you came to was a pergola on the east side of the lake, then a beautiful little Bonzai Garden, and eventually Fairlyland which was a childrens theme park.”Josh Martin
“Though I have been playing music for decades I recently hit a dry spell. After getting married with a baby on the way I decided to get a corporate sales job which triggered some kind of crisis of identity. It was like by assuming this new responsible role of provider I could no longer be a musician; I won’t lie it wasn’t a fun time. Gradually though I realized that songs were still coming.”Josh Martin
Notes From The American Rat Race is a combination of lyrical and instrumental tracks that explore deep themes such as love, war, dreams, memories, and more. It does so by its creation of an otherwordly soundscape that takes us into a deeper plane of that of physical existence as if we were meditating. It invites us to let go of our bodies and concentrate on our senses, such as the track “Paralyzed By Music” suggests. Josh Martin generates powerful images that serve as powerful metaphors for ideas and emotions, as he does with the exploration of love in “Seeds”. But not only does he demonstrate his lyrical talent, but he also shows his musical approach, particularly with his mix of colors in music: each instrument fits perfectly with one another, such as how the guitar, the synths, the piano, backing vocals blend in “All The Right Ones and The Wrong Ones”. Each of the tracks of the album has an atmospheric exploration of space, music, and emotion and how they can serve to explore specific memories and places in the tracks “Pergola”, “Bonzai Garden” and “Fairlyland”. Josh Martin strikes a chord of nostalgia deep within us. The DIY production of the album, in which some noise of the outside world (a dog barking, the creaking of wood) suddenly infiltrates into the music, gives it a unique touch: a reminder that we are still in the world, after all.
“I suppose this album is about the creativity the comes in the most unlikely of places or situations. The rat race is dry and sterile, but good art comes from within, it doesn’t have to be married to a specific context. These songs were written and recorded by me, starting in that little 2 bedroom apartment in oakland, and later in airbnb’s across the country while my wife and I were traveling during covid. I finished the album in a little studio I built from a converted garden shed in my backyard here in Colorado”Josh Martin
Josh Martin has created an excellent album with Notes From The American Rat Race. Emotional, personal, and special.
Don’t forget to support Josh’sproject and follow him on Instagram, SoundCloud, and Spotify. If you enjoy his music and are able to provide monetary support, you might consider downloading it on Bandcamp.
It also helps to stream and share this music; you can obviously find it in the following Playlists: Less Than 1,000 Followers, Fresh Singles, Indie Only, Alterindie State Of Mind, 12 New Songs This Week, Chill – Folk – Acoustic, Sickest & Dopest, Unknown but Essentials!, Take It Easy, and Autumn Acoustic.
This coverage was created via MusoSoup #Sustainablecurator