A Spotlight Interview With Joshua ketchmark
A new album from Joshua Ketchmark gives a personal and honest approach to a wonderfully southern toned classic rock feeling songwriting style and it comes through with a warmth and lush soundscape with tons of instrumentation and style.
The Blood album is brimming with soaring vocal harmonies, slide guitars, and an outstanding sense of realism in his songwriting that lets you get closer to him as he shows his inner character and thoughts.
This record has beautifully woven songs that build and become delightfully cinematic and impactful as they play on.
They make you think, and some even make memories pop up in your own head when you least expect it.
There is also this drive to it. Something that makes it almost magical. It's the descriptions of situations and thoughts. he gets so vivid and real with everything that it takes you through these chapters in his life.
When it's done you get a better understanding of the parts of him that he may have kept underneath until now.
This release is heavily anthemic and its done is a subtle way. You get attached to each one on its own. But as a whole, this album tells a lot and it's all right there for you to soak in.
Ketchmark tells stories and does it with such detail that you know they come from real experiences.
With such a moving and rich album, we wanted to have a chat with the artist to find out wher this really came from.
Here's what happened.
RAG: Okay so let's start with "Tazewell County Line.” This song has a genuine and rustic southern folk feel to it! Where did this single come from?
I’d been kicking the title ‘Tazewell County Line’ around for a while when production started on BLOOD, which is the full-length album that this new single is taken from. TCL was originally a different song called ‘True North’ when the basic tracks were recorded. But during the production of the record, the song started to feel like it wanted to be something different. I felt like the lyrics and overall song that I had didn’t do a good job of summing up what I trying to say. So I started experimenting with different melodies and the overall phrasing in the first verse. That’s when the first line of the song came to me “I thought I knew you, was I ever wrong.” It kind of just fell out of the sky and it fit just right: it sounded like it had always been there and set the tone for the song. ‘True North’ became ‘Tazewell County Line’ and the rest evolved into what you hear in the finished version of the new single.
I just released a video for it that you can check out here:
RAG: So how did this all begin for you? When did you fall in love with music?
I fell in love with music pretty early on. Growing up it really felt like it was something that was mine. My dad had sports and my mother had the things she enjoyed. I had music. The first time I picked up a guitar, I was 12 years old. I found it in the back of a closet in my mother’s house. But it wasn’t until years later that I would even think that I could be a songwriter or musician.
RAG: Who is in your headphones right now?
So far this morning I’ve listened to a couple songs from Gretchen Peters (Dancing with the Beast), Jason Isbell (Southeastern) and Morgan Wade (Reckless/Deluxe Edition) while drinking my morning mug of coffee. Music is always moving through my house in some way everyday.
RAG: What inspires you to write a song?
Inspiration is always coming in from everywhere. These days I get inspiration from finding myself in the song, or a phrase that I’ll overhear somewhere in a conversation that catches my ear. Even if I start out not knowing at all what I’m talking about, most times the song always ends up being smarter than I am. If I can just get out of the way long enough to let my mind chase what it’s after, I usually end with something of some substance. For a long time I was scared to get into that bed. I found myself writing songs that weren’t really what I had to say, but writing more of what I thought people wanted to hear. All of the songs on my latest record BLOOD are based as close as I can get to the truth of the song. I’ve found that is the best way as an artist for me to be. I try to stay as open to what’s going on around me as I can. And in doing that, it always leaves me curious to see what’s around the next corner.
RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this record. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I try to soak up as much music as I can, and I pull from whatever inspiration moves me. I grew up listening to the radio and top 40. As I got older I listened to a lot of straight ahead rock and roll and everything from industrial to power pop. I think a good song speaks to you no matter what genre it is. I’ve realized over the years I’ve always been drawn to the story in a song; ever since I heard ‘Little Red Corvette’ by Prince. My musical influences have changed so many times over the years, and straddling the line between Rock and Country seems to be where my heart wants to be…along the lines of bands like the Eagles and Bob Segar when I was younger.
RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
My situation these days is like a live/work spot. It’s hard to turn my brain off most times. But when I’m not writing or recording I can usually be found in front of the TV watching a movie. I was one of those kids who would restart a movie as soon as it ended. I had to absorb all of it and memorize as much dialogue as I could. One of my close friends and I exchange quotes from the movies we love on a weekly basis, seeing who can wear whom out first. We’ve been doing it for years.
RAG: Would you say live performances are a big part of what you do?
Live performances used to be part of what I do, but since the pandemic I haven't gotten back on the horse. I do love playing live and having the chance to share my songs. And getting to meet new people is something that I miss. It’s an entirely different animal, but I must say I do love having my two feet planted on stage behind a microphone. After 14 years of being a solo artist, it just has to be the right fit. And at this point with what has been going on in the world, it’s anybody’s guess what’s going to happen next. Who knows, maybe you’ll see me out there before ya know it?
RAG: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
It would be great to have something earth shattering to add here but right now the future is a mystery. You can expect another single from the new record to drop this year, along with a new video for it. There is more press and interviews coming. If you don’t already, follow me on the socials to stay up to date with all that’s going on.
RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Yes, your support for this new record has really been amazing. I am so thankful that both singles have reached so many people and all of you have really helped it find the audience that it deserves through your likes, shares, streams, and follows. THANK YOU.
Let’s keep this ball rolling!