We just heard from Mountain Heart’s bluesy front man, Josh Shilling, with an update on the solo project he’s been working on for the past several months.
Josh spoke with us about this about this during the summer, but says that work stalled when band work took off this year.
“Three months of my life literally disappeared this past summer with the Mountain Heart guys. I believe we had the craziest tour schedule ever this year and as good as that is for us, this making a solo record business seized for a while.”
The album will showcase Shilling as a solo artist, which will include his strengths as a keyboard man, plus his wide range of vocal styles. Prior to joining Mountain Heart, Josh had worked with blues and country-rock acts along the east coast. The band found him working with an acoustic duo in Roanoke, VA, and asked him to join shortly after hearing him sing.
The record will also highlight his writing skills, and his vision as a producer.
Josh is especially proud of the vibe he is getting in the studio.
“We were able to capture a very organic feel with lots of emotion and the ‘real’ factor is stronger on this project than any other I’ve ever been involved with. People have asked me ‘what’s your album going to be like?’ and my answer is fairly simple. ‘Some of my favorite songs performed with some of my favorite people.’
Although, I think I could actually describe it something like this…if you took the Hammond Organ, lap steel, and overall feel of a Jackson Browne album, the rawness and organic/acoustic styling of Amos Lee, and the strong lyric content of a Lady Antebellum CD, you’d be somewhere in the ballpark of what this project is going to feel like.
The next question I’m getting is ‘is it country, bluegrass, rock?’ The answer is, it’s a little bit of all that. This will most likely land in the Americana genre. Most of the players involved are good friends from the bluegrass world. owever, they’re playing with a world-class drummer and electric bassist. So, maybe it’s not bluegrass?
My vocals definitely have a soulful/rock edge and the Hammond Organ and lap steel are reminiscent of some of my favorite rootsy rock records. These songs could be heard on country radio but are in no way influenced by much of the bubble gum, over-produced artists that are getting played. My goal is to finally show myself as a songwriter and to make something that appeals to everyone and I’m proud of.”
Though he says that a couple of labels have expressed an interest in the album, he plans to put together a small team and put this out himself on his own label.
“After starting a label, gathering and recording all the material, photo shoots, etc…we’re now at the mix/mastering stage.
I had a great photo shoot for cover art recently with an old friend named Erick Anderson, and I’m hoping to finish up the work on the audio soon with my talented pal Mike Clute. I’m also in the process of making some videos of our days in the studio. We videoed basically everything from three different angles during the sessions and I can’t wait to share that process.”
Josh promises to share more frequent updates, but doesn’t expect to have the as-yet untitled project on the street before 2012.