New Friends, Old Dogs, and a New Album in the Works
With plenty of time off in 2020, Whitley has spent the majority of his time at home writing songs. "I befriended these two songwriters from Texas I was already big fans of. They're names are Dalton Domino and Charlie Stout," Whitley said. "Charlie is the best songwriter I know personally. It's a caliber I've never seen first hand. He just made me want to try my best to write something I thought he'd enjoy." Whitley went on to be on a instagram interview type of show Stout hosted where they discussed their similar roots, told road stories and played songs.
Later, he was asked to join a songwriter's circle that involved over a dozen participants with Domino being the leader and Whitley acting as "Camp Counselor." "We had to turn in a new song every week, which is something I wasn't used to at all," recalls Whitley. "Sometimes I go weeks without writing." The circle had one final Zoom meeting, a Q and A session by none other than two of Whitley's favorite singer-songwriters Ray Wylie Hubbard and Hayes Carll. "It overwhelmed me to meet those two and tell them how much I loved their music and to hear their advice on the music industry, the writing, and some of their own stories. Hayes told the class if you want to be a writer then you have to make yourself sit in the chair and write. It lit the fire under me to pick up the pen."
Whitley finished writing the tracks for his new album which is titled The Wandering Boy. The album is in pre-production stages and Whitley hopes to record the album in Nashville, another first. Stay tuned to the News page for more updates!
The album The Wandering Boy will feature songs Whitley has been writing over the past three years. The album cover will be this picture, which was taken by his mother in July of 1992 when Whitley was two years old. With his cocked squared off hat and guitar in hand, the modern day resemblance of him is striking.
Whitley Celebrates Second Anniversay of Moon Songs
Although 2020 has been very slow and basically a bust, that hasn't stopped Whitley from celebrating the anniversary of his newest release Moon Songs. "I am so proud of that record," touts Whitley. "Charlie and I worked on it for almost eighteen months, swapping paintings and songs until we had enough that we were proud of."
For those of you who don't know, Whitley and Haskins, a local artist and painter, collaborated on a unique collection of paintings and songs. Whitley and Haskins would swap a song and a painting at the beginning of every month and go their separate ways, Whitley with a painting and Haskins with a song. Whitley would write a song based on Haskins's painting, and Haskins would make a painting based off of Whitley's song. They would then meet up at the beginning of the following month and start the process over until they had twelve songs and paintings all together. A music video for the song Hard Knock Living was also made.
Next, they put the paintings and the lyrics in a book with the CD inserted into the cover. It was released on Small Business Saturday, a national day recognizing small business owners and independent artists. Moon Songs is available wherever digital music is streamed and downloaded.
"The Hardest Working Man in Scioto County Showbusiness"
That's the first sentence from this article from The Scioto Voice, a local newspaper in Whitley's home county. Although 2020 was a bust for live music due to the covid pandemic, Whitley normally performs 150 shows a year. "It made me laugh out loud when Derrick, the journalist hung that title on me," Whitley acknowledges. "But I took it as a compliment and wear it proudly. It was fun being in my favorite pub or in a parking lot somewhere and hear someone say, ' Hey! There's the hardest working man in Scioto County showbusiness!" laughs Whitley. In the article they discussed being a musician during the trying times of the covid pandemic, the songwriter showcase the previous January, as well as what it takes to be a full-time musician.
January 10th Friends Old and New
The year 2020 starts off with a bang with Josiah being involved in a fun and intimate showcase of shows called Ohio Songwriters in the Round. Featuring award winning writers Megan Bee and TJ George, both proud Ohio residents, all three artists will be on stage and one by one they each will tell stories and shar their songs. To make it feel more intimate each show will be done in every artist's hometown in Athens, Columbus, and Portsmouth, OH respectively.
We Create Podcast Appearance
Today marks the third time Whitley has been interviewed by Charlie Millikin, a singer-songwriter from Cincinnati, OH. On We Create, Millikin and Whitley talked in depth about Whitley's song Fall Into Me from his album Lay Me Down In Roses. In this candid interview Whitley talks about recording the album in a movie theater after hours, what it was like living in Tennessee as a struggling session musician, and his plans for the future. You can listen to the podcast in its entirety here.
Positively Portsmouth TV Show Appearance and Performance
Whitley was again interviewed on Positively Portsmouth, a local television show in his hometown of Portsmouth, OH. On the show he and host Jenny Lavender talked about Whitley's musical and family roots, travels, The Southern Ohio Museum show, and played a song off of his latest release Moon Songs. The show can be viewed on www.watchthezone.com
Live at The
Southern Ohio Museum
Charlie Haskins and Josiah were showcased at The Southern Ohio Museum for their creative work Moon Songs, a collaboration of paintings and songs. The event was a sell out, with Whitley playing the album in its entirety while Haskins drew caricatures of audience members in the crowd. The sold out event was a listening room type atmosphere at the outside portion of the museum and was one for the books.
Big Old Jet Airliner
For the first time Whitley was given the opportunity to do something he's always wanted to do; fly to a gig.
"I met this couple down in Indiana about a year prior," says Whitley. "They loved the music and wanted to know if I would play for a private event on their property. I said, 'sure!' Then they informed me they lived an hour north of St. Paul, MN. I just couldn't say no."
Whitley shared the stage the following night with Sonny Winberg, a Minnesota native who was a protégé of country star Ray Price. "I hope for many more shows like this in the future!"
The Canby Sessions
Whitley was asked to perform on The Canby Sessions, a show on YouTube where musicians get to play some of their songs in a swanky old department store building in downtown BelleFontaine, OH. "It was absolutely freezing in that big abandoned building," recalls Whitley. He later jokingly said, "They tried to warm me up by giving me a can of Hamm's beer, the cheapest beer on the market. I don't know if they were trying to warm me up or kill me, but they succeeded in neither one." He performed The Killing Tree, a dark and folk-blues song about a hanging tree as told from the tree's perspective. You can watch and listen to it here.
From The Background To The Foreground: A New Album Titled Moon Songs Is Slated For Release
By looking at the news section of the website it looks like Whitley has not been active very much. Nothing could be further from the truth. He has been all over Ohio’s tristate maintaining his 150 concert a your schedule. Also, he has been writing and recording a new record that he has been working on for the last year and a half. He has been reluctant to talk about it during the creative process due to being protective of his art and the concepts on how it was created.
However! The time has finally come to let the cat out of the bag! Whitley has collaborated with his friend and local artist Charlie Haskins to create Moon Songs, A unique pairing of paintings and songs. One day while at Charlie‘s record store and art gallery, Whitley was approached by Haskins and asked if he would be willing to let Charlie paint a gate fold for a record. Whitley was excited about this idea but the major issue was he had no record waiting to be recorded. A couple of weeks later Haskins asked Whitley again about collaborating but this time making a project where they genuinely collaborated together. Charlie would give Josiah one of his paintings and after studying it would write a song based off of the painting. In turn, Josiah would give Charlie a song and after listening to it would create a painting based off of the song. Whitley was very ecstatic and energized by the idea and they immediately agreed to start to work together, meeting at the first of every month to swap songs and pains. They agreed to do 12 songs in 12 paintings total. They also decided to put a book together that showcased all of the paintings with the lyrics side by side and have a CD inserted into the book so people can not only read and look but they can also listen and follow along.
Knowing that they had a very marketable idea on their hands both artists swore each other to secrecy except to immediate family and trusted mentors. “The last thing I wanted was for someone to come along with a similar idea just because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut,” said Whitley. Moon Songs is already taking Whitley and Haskins’s hometown and county by storm. Pre-orders are knocking out expectations and praise and approval have been high. One local paper, The Scioto Voice, decided to do an interview as a press release for the record and has even called Haskins and Whitley local icons. “I don’t know about icon, but I’ll take it!” Whitley laughs. The duo will even be featured on a local show called Positively Portsmouth! The show will be aired at 6pm on November 24th on Channel 24 for Spectrum Cable customers. "The show will come on right before Wheelersburg High School's football team plays for the semi-finals. As a proud Wheelersburg alumni I'm very excited to be on right before the game on the same TV channel." Whitley will also be in Knoxville that early afternoon performing on The Blue Plate Special promoting the record. The Blue Plate Special has featured many prominent artists such as Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, Whitley's childhood hero Marty Stuart as well as influences Guy Clark and Malcolm Holcomb, Chris Smithers and John Prine.
Moon Songs is available for pre-order through this website via the store. Under the music section of this website they can also find a downloadable version with the digital version of the artwork. The official release date is November 24, small business Saturday. This will also be the day Whitley will be in Knoxville to play on the prestigious Blue Plate Special radio show and will showcase the record live on the air. Make sure to get your copy today!
Haskins and Whitley on the set of Positively Portsmouth, a local TV show to talk about Moon Songs. Whitley played a snippet of The Prayers Went Up And The Rain Came Down, a song about the 1937 Portsmouth Flood. It will air on November 24th at 6pm Channel 24 via Spectrum Cable.
Haskins and Whitley were featured on the front page of The Scioto Voice on Thursday the 15th of November to promote the record. "I don't know about 'ICON'," said Whitley, "But I'll take it!"
Each album comes with a 40 page book with lyrics and paintings. Also included is a 12 song CD that has custom artwork done by Haskins. Each CD features its own unique design
First Blog Write Up
Josiah was recently featured in a blog called Cincy Local Music. The writer contributed a blog talking about one of Whitley's shows in the area. After the venue cleared out and the chairs were being put on the tops of the tables, a group of people told Whitley they were disappointed that they didn't hear him sing "Let Him Roll" by Guy Clark, a signature closing song in Whitley's set. Without hesitation Whitley threw his guitar case on a table, took out the guitar, pulled down a chair from another table and did the song for them right on the spot. Read more at the blog! www.cincylocalmusic.com
Whitley made it onto the front page of his hometown paper The Portsmouth Daily Times today. The article touched on the making of his new album, his goals, and his thoughts on his hometown. "It never gets old seeing yourself on the front page of your local paper at the store, the gas station, or the bar that sells them near the door," remarked Whitley. You can read the article here
Whitley's First Major On Air Radio Appearance
Whitley made his first major on air radio appearance Tuesday, August 29th at 100.3FM WCLT Radio in Newark, OH. Whitley was featured on T-100, central Ohio's country station. He was interviewd and performed The Ballad Of Johnny, the single off of his new album Lay Me Down In Roses. The estimated audience that turned their radio dials to 100.3FM and listened to Whitley was estimated at 250,000.
Ride This Train Cracks The Top 10 on Canadian Indie Radio
August 21st was a very happy day here at XXO Records. Not only was it Josiah's 27th birthday, but we got word that his single Ride This Train from his last album In The Dark hit the Top 10 on Indie Radio Charts up in Canada. Whitley was ecstatic and grateful because it is not only his first charting song, it is a song that is very near and dear to him. "I am so proud to see how far this song has gone. It's been the most downloaded tune in my catalog for quite some time and I'm so honored to see it do so well. I want to thank Jacob Harris for performing and producing the track with me, and I want to sincerely thank my muse who made Ride This Train and so many of my other songs possible."
You can download Ride This Train from In The Dark today on iTunes and Google Play.
Josiah Whitley made his first television debut on The Midday Kentucky Show on ABC's Channel 36 in Lexington, KY on August 14th. After the appearance Whitley was asked to write a song for commercial use through the show.
The new album Lay Me Down In Roses was recently reviewed by Hold The Note magazine, an Ohio Tri-State music magazine. Check out the review at www.htnmag.com
EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT!
Thursday, June 22nd is a big day for Whitley. The Scioto Voice, a local newspaper in his hometown has written a full page front page article about Whitley's music and history of success and struggle. Here he is pictured reading the article in the backseat of his beat up old 2005 Chevy Impala which is where he sometimes slept when things were rough as described in the article. "Life comes around full circle!" He exclaims after the photographer snaps this shot. Check out the article at www.thesciotovoice.com
More More More
Today is a day of much excitement in the Whitley camp. This afternoon Josiah Whitley will sit down with The Community Common, a Scioto County local paper to discuss his upcoming performance at Dreamland Festival in Spartan Stadium. Whitley also confirmed with iTunes and other digital media outlets this morning that his second full-length album "Lay Me Down In Roses", his second EP and first live album "Live On The Blue Plate Special EP" and the single "One More For The Road" is going to be released simultaneously through iTunes, Google Play as well as Spotify on June 15th. And last but not least Whitley has confirmed a show with John Prine's very own Jason Wilbur. Wilbur has been Prine's guitarist for over twenty years and has worked with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and Todd Snider.
New Podcast Interview!
Josiah Whitley was recently interviewed by fellow singer-songwriter Charlie Millikin on his podcast We Make Music. We Make Music is dedicated to songwriters sharing the stories behind their tunes and the craft that goes in to creating them. Whitley eagerly discussed in detail the history and recording of "Ride This Train", the single off of his first full-length album In The Dark, which is available on every major digital media outlet.