Where did all of the concerts go? It’s been WAY too long since we could cram into the front of a live stage and scream along to our favorite songs at the top of our lungs. If we think we miss live music, nobody’s missing it more than the artists themselves!
If you wish you could jam out to a live show right now, you’ll love this interview with The Voice contestant and music artist Josh Gallagher!
How does it feel to have Blake Shelton and Alicia Keys begging you to join their teams? What are music artists up to in the wake of 2020? What is Josh Gallagher’s favorite color? And what is the secret to his rock and roll/country music mashup signature sound? You’re about to find out all of that and more as Josh Gallagher gives us a glimpse of the everyday life behind the glam of a Nashville rising star.
Josh Gallagher has been playing music for almost as long as he can remember. His parents bought him a guitar when he was ten years old and he fell in love right away. “I’ll be honest with you, I really don’t remember what got me into music. My mom was always saying I was always singing before I could even talk. Apparently, I just decided I wanted to play guitar one day. My parents got me one and I started teaching myself how to play. It took a while. I’m still teaching myself every day. As I got older, I just did it for fun. I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m going to play guitar and do music for a living one day!’ It was just more of a hobby at that point.
“It hit me, actually after I dropped out of college, that I could do this music thing as a job. While I was working my full-time job during the week, I was playing around town back home in Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas. I did that for about two years and that’s when I realized ‘I could probably try to do this for a living. If I don’t give it a shot, because I love it so much, I’m going to regret it for the rest of my life.” So I was like screw it, we’re moving to Nashville!”
“I thought, ‘If I don’t give music a shot, I’m going to regret it for the rest of my life.’”
Moving to Nashville was only the first step in Josh’s career as a full-time musician. He shared that his climb up the ladder wasn’t simple.
“I had no clue how I was going to jump into this music industry scene “thing” that we all try to figure out how to deal with when we move down here. My biggest question was… how am I going to make any money down here? I didn’t move down here to do music on the side.
“Eventually, after about a month of looking and watching my bank account dwindle, I finally got my foot in the door to this Nashville music scene. I started playing downtown and it started out slow, about a couple days a week, but the more I did it, I was doing five to six days a week. I was able to sustain myself that way and bring money in.
“You should have seen me for the first two months though, I was so stressed out. I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing!’ I didn’t want to move to Nashville to do the same thing I was doing at home. I left a full-time job with really good pay, I probably could have stayed there for the rest of my life and made the money that I was supposed to make and it would have been perfectly fine. Instead, now I was a brand new fish in a big-a** pond with a bunch of bad-a** musicians and singers and songwriters and I was just like this newborn who couldn’t even feed himself yet, ya know? It was very stressful. There were a couple times in those first two months where Lindsey and I were wondering if we were going to stay, coming to tears talking about it on the couch. That’s how passionate we both were about me doing this music thing for real. We ended up figuring it out because that’s what you have to do. If you have a goal and you want to succeed in that goal, you figure that sh*t out no matter what it takes, and that’s what we did.”
Josh shared that his wife Lindsey was supportive of his decision to go full-time with music. She found a job teaching in Nashville and was up for an adventure! “When I brought up Nashville to her, she’s a huge country music fan, too, so, she was like ‘That would be awesome… we’ll see what happens.’ But the more I played back home, she saw how big the crowds were getting and how many more fans I was getting each show and it kinda hit her too, like ‘Oh sh*t, we could probably do this!’ It was a little bit of a risk for her, too, because if we come down here and I don’t succeed at what I’m doing, we’d have to figure something else out.”
If you were spending your evenings catching episodes from The Voice in 2016, you probably recognize Josh Gallagher’s powerful voice and quick smile from Season 11! Josh joined Team Blake with Blake Shelton after rocking Stay a Little Longer by Brothers Osborne.
We asked Josh how he ended up on The Voice and his story was far from average.
“I got really lucky the way that it happened for me,” Josh says. “I was playing downtown here in Nashville at a place called The Row. I was doing every Thursday there back in 2015 and 2016. The guy that books that place has connections to The Voice and American Idol. One Thursday in June, while I was playing, he asked me if I wanted to audition for The Voice and I was like ‘Sure!’ He took a couple videos and sent them in to his contact. About twenty minutes later they got back to him and said they wanted me for a private audition in Atlanta that next week! Long story short… I auditioned for Season 12 but they told me they were transferring me to Season 11 since some people had gone home! So they put me on a plane the next day and I was off to Los Angeles to do my thing. I had a blast out there!”
It didn’t take more than a few seconds for Blake Shelton to smash that red button and compete with Alicia Keys to recruit Josh. That’s when Josh says his memory draws a blank.
“When that chair turned around, I blacked out,” he says. “I was singing Stay a Little Longer by Brothers Osborne. Alicia Keys and Blake Shelton turned around. You can see on the video when that first chair turned around, my face lit up. And when my face lit up, I can’t remember the rest of the song. Thank God they drilled rehearsals into our brains like every single day because without that I probably wouldn’t have been able to go into autopilot and finish the song. I had to hit this really big high note and I was super nervous about it. I don’t even remember hitting it. I had to ask my wife, ‘Did I even hit that note? Did I finish the song?’ She said ‘Babe you sounded so good!’
“I picked Blake for my coach. I run down and he comes up out of his chair to give me an ol’ bear hug and I’m thinking I just met one of my idols and I get to go work with him! As soon as you jump off stage they shove a camera in your face asking how you feel right now. Once all of the dust settled, that’s when it hit. “Holy sh*t, I’m on The Voice!”
What is the secret sauce that gives Josh’s music that unmistakable sound? He incorporates a lot of unique elements in his music but his favorite by far is the steel guitar.
“We’re very influenced by the 90s and early 2000s steel guitar. We have a steel guitar or dobro on stage at all times. That’s a very crucial part of my sound. I had a hard time at first convincing my producer to bring a steel player in whenever we go and cut because he was like “nobody ever plays steel anymore.” We did some digging and found our steel player Dan Dugmore who is absolutely great. If you listen to any of my music and you hear the steel guitar, it's him.
“The two heaviest sounds that you’ll hear in my music are that heavy, rock, country sound with layers of steel guitar. It creates a cool sound because you’ve got the heavy guitar sound with the little bit softer, twangier steel guitar. It’s not anything new, we’re not reinventing the wheel here, but we’re just doing something first of all that we like, and second, people seem to react the same way that we do when we play it.”
“I feel like we’re more rock than we are country, just because we’ll go in a studio and cut and when you hear our sound, it’s completely different than any country that you would hear. We definitely lean heavier on the rock side, especially when we play our live shows. We just turn that sh*t up and distortion and overdrive, and just let you have it.”
Josh shared that he didn’t move down to Nashville to play a few songs and have fun. His dreams are quite a bit bigger.
“The reason that people still love George Strait and Waylon Jennings and Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts is because they didn’t look at their career and go ‘I’m gonna put out a couple of songs, a couple of albums and then be done, and make my mark, and that’s it.’ They put out record after record after record in the hopes that they would be a legacy act. That’s my goal. I don’t want to sit here and put out a couple songs and put out a couple singles or records or go play a few shows or few tours for a couple of years and then be like ‘Well, I’ve done what I wanted to do.’ That’s not going to do it for me. I want to take this the whole way until I can’t stand on that d*mn stage anymore. I want my songs in 50 years to still be requested down on Broadway. That would be the ultimate goal of mine.”
While dreaming big is especially important in the music industry, that vision applies to all of life. “If you truly think that you can make it there, most likely, you bust your a** and keep that focus, you’re gonna end up there. If you have that drive and goal and focus to do something… if that’s what you want to do, go do that sh*t. If your goals and your eyes are set on that, most likely, you’re gonna end up succeeding in that, whatever that may be. Just keep after it.”
When March of 2020 came, unexpectedly shattering normalcy, artists and bands were left stranded in the wake. “I don’t want to sit here and say that everywhere else wasn’t impacted because every industry in the country was impacted,” Josh says. “But I feel like the music industry was one of the more impacted industries.” While many workers were able to switch to remote work, full-time musicians were completely out of a job. “The money that we make as artists and songwriters strictly depends on streaming and downloads and new music releases which weren’t happening at the time because there was no tour to go promote new music,” Josh says. “And because there was no tour to promote new music, there were no checks being cut to artists to go play on these tours.” Even now, most tours are still on hold and live events are still heavily restricted. “We can’t tour and play and make money and see our fans and sell merch because we’re still pretty well shut down. And that’s what our sole income is based on.”
While he used to be able to focus 100% on music, Josh had to change his mindset as it became harder to make ends meet. “It’s been super stressful,” he says. “At this point right now, it’s check-to-check, whatever we can bring in. Lindsey is still working and making her normal pay but as for me… before 2020 I focused on ‘What is our next record, how can we make it better, how can I improve my songwriting?’ Once all of this happened, it shifted from all-in on music to all-in on making sure I can keep a roof over our heads.”
Musicians have it hard these days and Josh shared that everything, from messages of encouragement to music downloads, makes a huge difference.
How can we support music artists in 2020? “Honestly, stream their music,” Josh says. “Go download their music. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook and if they have a YouTube channel go follow them on there. Join their fan clubs, if they have one. Mainly right now, it’s just keeping artists and bands interested and positive about making music still.”
Josh shared that playing music in 2021 is more impactful after experiencing so much of a change in 2020. “I played music for the first time in months and, because I hadn’t done that in a while and there were actual people there, it wasn’t on a screen or a camera, it was kinda emotional. When we do this sh*t every day, we don’t realize how lucky we are sometimes that we actually get to do this. It’s such an overwhelming feeling.”
To his fans and the fans of fellow artists, Josh shared that a little effort goes a long way. “There’s only so much fans can do right now but just support music artists as much as you can,” Josh says. “Listen to their music, download it, send them messages on Instagram or Facebook. I can’t tell you how many fans I’ve talked to over the past year and a half. It’s such a morale booster. I can’t speak for everyone but for me, there were times where I wasn’t necessarily depressed but just like ‘Man, this sucks.’ I’m in my studio working but it’s like at the end when you get done, you wonder 'Now what?' It brings you down. It put me in a place where I was like 'Screw this, I don’t feel like doing anything. I’m going to sit on the couch and eat Cheetos and watch Archer all day' which isn’t a thing you can do in this industry. You have to constantly be on top of your sh*t.
"To be able to go play music again is exciting. I’m pumped about it! We have a bunch of shows coming up this year that got canceled last year. I can’t wait for it! That will be in the fall so hopefully by the fall we will be able to actually get back to normal, whatever normal was before.”
Josh and Lindsey are also looking forward to hitting up concerts again after things start opening back up again. “I can’t wait to go to concerts. My wife and I are huge Eric Church fans. Just because we’re in the music industry doesn’t mean we’re not consumers also! We’re dying to go see Eric Church with a guitar in his hand, screaming in my face from the first row. That’s all I want.”
Josh Gallagher had a lot to say about The Groove Belt and tagged it with one of the best lines we’ve heard so far.
"I’ve got the Groove Life belt, The Groove Belt which they just released last year and since I got that belt, I’ve not worn another belt at all. I think the biggest selling factor in that for me was that the belt buckle was magnetic. It hooks and it’s not going to come undone, and even more than that, the belt itself is this strong-a** elastic braided material that never pinches. I wore a normal leather belt before and I’d have to sit there and adjust, it would be pinching my side or whatever.
“You know what it is? It’s the yoga pants of belts! It just moves with you everywhere and it’s super comfortable. You never feel like it’s there.”
Josh also wears his Groove Ring nonstop. “My wedding band was custom made with a guitar string through the middle of it and made out of a Jack Daniels whiskey barrel. It was more expensive than I wanted to wear often because I’m playing music all the time, I’m hunting, I’m fishing, I’m constantly working in the yard or working on something. I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to wear this every day and get it all scratched up or messed up or possibly lose it or break it or have something fall on my finger and have to cut my finger off or cut the ring off my finger.
“Eventually, I found Groove Life. I dug into the way they have their marketing and they’re very outdoorsy… their warranty is a No BS Warranty. I’m super lighthearted. I don’t take a whole lot of sh*t too seriously, and I got that feeling from Groove Life before I even met them. I ordered a couple Groove Rings and started wearing them and I absolutely love them. I think the biggest thing that sets them apart from any other competitor is the grooves on the back. It really gets rid of all of the moisture and sweat around my hands and finger. I don’t like my hands to feel sweaty and sticky and slimy so Groove Life in that aspect is perfect for me. Now I probably have like forty or fifty rings from them. I mean, I’ve got a bunch, and I wear the watch bands all the time. I’m a big Realtree guy so camo just in general. Like, what’s my favorite color? Camo! It’s a color that blends in with everything, okay!”
Josh came out to our office to film a fun video and we loved hanging out with him. Thankfully, the feeling was mutual.
“When they brought me in they kinda knew my personality and knew how I could be with that kind of thing because doing that kind of skit is the kind of thing my dumba** would come up with. That was right up my alley. That was fun!
“We’re the same people. They’re just good people, man! They know what they're doing, they know their market, they know their lane. No matter what they put out, their fans and crowd are going to love it. I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me and said “What are those rings and belt that you wear?
They’re just a really good company and I love ‘em.”
Josh Gallagher’s favorite Groove Ring and Groove Watch Band are the Realtree MAX5™ pattern. “I’ve worn this ring without taking it off, playing guitars and hunting and fishing and swinging hammers and building all kinds of things and I’ve worn it for probably a year now and I haven’t taken it off my finger.”
That’s what we like to hear!
Josh has a lot of exciting news in store for his fans including a new single “Bright Side” coming out on April 7th and a new single following that every month for the rest of the year! Connect with Josh on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube to stay up to date and be sure to find his music on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon... wherever you get your digital music!
If you want to tell Josh to keep playing (seriously, do it) you can even text him on his community number at 615-205-6760 to chat and stay up to date on new products and announcements or just encouraging little daily notes.
And Josh has one request: “Tell everybody to watch my music video for Boots Like Mine because we’re almost at 1,000,000 views and I’d like to have a million views!”
Go check out Boots Like Mine and stay up to date because Josh Gallagher’s music career is just getting started.
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