As he opened up the boxes of CDs like an excited child on Christmas, Josh Lovegrove stared at his EP ‘No Shoes, Just Tales’, with an overwhelming amount of accomplishment and pride running through his system.
The Gold Coast musician explained that this day was the benchmark to the start of his career; everything else was just a lead up in preparation of that moment.
Josh’s trademark no-shoes-on-stage appearance began two years ago, during his first experience at the Woodford Folk Festival, the year they nicknamed it ‘Mudford’. His shoes were ruined within the first three hours of the festivities and he ended up barefoot for the rest of the week.
“I did all of my shows during the week that way and it became an identifier,” told Josh.
“It also made me feel a lot more comfortable onstage and in the studio, so it just kind of stuck with me”.
With EP in hand, Josh was ready for his first tour, where he and three other local acts ventured through the Australian Western Downs. Josh, Simon Thomas, Jaya and a duo Sally Anne and Georgia Rose, piled into a 12-seater mini bus with all their gear and hit the road.
Having done eight shows in 11 days, Josh admitted it was challenging, yet rewarding putting on the same, if not a better show, every single night.
“The best part of the tour was learning from each other and giving constructive feedback … we were all able to hone in on the skills we were lacking and improve”.
It takes a great amount of dedication to your music to finish your show at 10PM and get back on the road for the next few hours… only to do it all over again the next day.
When you’re cutting it so fine for time though, the last thing you want is to get lost… something these musicians learnt the hard way.
“We drove 2 hours in the wrong direction, we only missed one left turn! We had to turn around and go back to where we started!” told Josh.
“There was no GPS or reception, so we had to use an old-school map”.
Of all the rural towns they played at, Josh’s favourite experience was in Cunnamulla, where they spent the whole day playing on the main street through a portable PA.
“About 30 kids ran down really excited and asking us lots of questions about our equipment,” explained Josh.
“By the time we came to playing our show, we felt at home… the people there really listened and shared the music with us, I feel like they knew us better by the time we’d finished playing”.
Josh, Simon and Jaya are already planning their next tour, this time traveling down the Eastern Coastline, all the way to Melbourne.
“We want to do as many smaller places along way as we can, but the big cities are also a must,” told Josh.
The fact that about 30 community radio stations down the East Coast have picked up Josh’s music and are currently airing it, is all the more reason for him to venture on down.
“It seemed like the next logical step for me,” told Josh.
Josh’s passion for music has always been ingrained within him, starting as a classical musician playing flute and piano. He found his true colours, however, after picking up the guitar and from then on, has grown into an intrinsic storyteller.
“I took all the skills I had from my classical training and put them into everything else,” told Josh.
“Things started to take off after a couple of years doing free gigs… I was always that annoying guy playing everywhere!” told Josh.
“I started to get calls for gigs and people were wanting specifically me to do shows, from then on, it got busy!”
“I’ve now compiled all of my music gear together and am fully independent… I’m prepared for any type of performance at any time”.
As much as Josh loves listening to new artists and is always inspired by new things, the biggest driving force for him is his own personal progression.
“My success up to this day is inspiration and motivation for the future; it’s my own development that is keeping me improving and growing,” told Josh.
One particular artist that Josh does idolise, however, is John Mayer.
“I recently went to his concert and that was huge for me. He’s a big inspiration, purely because his finesse”.
Above all else, Josh’s main desire for the tour was to connect with his songs and his audience on a deep emotional level.
“I left one of the shows feeling like I had really changed people’s lives with my music,” told Josh.
“They were right there with me, it was so nice.”
Music and performance have always and will always be an essential part of Josh’s life.
“For me this isn’t about going until I’m ready to stop, I just want to keep on doing it,” explained Josh.
“In five years I would love to connect with people on a massive scale internationally, staying true to myself and spreading the love…grove”.
As he looked out into the crowd of swollen eyes and wet faces, Josh sung the final chorus of Strong Arms, a song he wrote about his nurturing mother. He knew straight away that he’d look back on this moment as the highlight of his career so far.