Joshua Radin set to record new album of back porch music in 2012


:: Joshua Radin ::

:: w/ Sarah and Christian Dugas ::
:: eTown - Boulder Theater :: January 22 ::

By Brian F. Johnson

Joshua Radin freely, and humbly admits that the successes he’s seen in his musical career are a bit much to swallow. The first song he ever wrote, “Winter,” was, within weeks of his writing and recording it, picked up and put on a television show. The first 10 songs he ever wrote became his acclaimed album We Were Here, which hit number one on the iTunes Folk Album Chart, sparking enough attention that the artist was signed by Columbia Records.

“It totally just happened. Basically, my career started when I started playing music,” Radin said in a recent interview with The Marquee. “I wrote my first song after like a year of learning a few chords — not to be a musician, but just to play around with the guitar.”

Still, despite that good fortune and seemingly easy step into a music career, Radin explains that he looks at his entire life leading up to that as the career build. The Shaker Heights, Ohio native studied drawing and painting at Northwestern University and after college he found himself as an art teacher and a screenwriter.

“My whole life I’ve been creative and trying to express what’s in my mind and trying to get other people to understand it, to get it out, and when I do it’s very cathartic. So putting down a type writer or a computer or a paint brush and picking up a guitar, it’s almost like I was trying to sing my paintings or sing my screenplays. So I had kind of developed artistically in a different way and all I needed to do, really, was just switch gears. But at its root it’s just creative expression,” Radin said.

Radin’s second album Simple Times carried on in the same vain as his first, but went straight to number one on iTunes — not in its particular category, but on the overall chart.

For his most recent release, 2010’s The Rock and The Tide, Radin switched things up a bit by plugging in on some songs. As opposed to other albums that were described as a “soft whisper,” The Rock and The Tide was almost metal by comparison, and as an artist, Radin said that a big part of it was simply trying different brushes on the same canvas. “The bigger my career got, of course, the bigger the shows I was getting offered. After one of my songs got big in Europe I realized I was going to be playing Glastonbury [Festival]. I thought, how am I going to win over 50,000 people in a field with an acoustic guitar and songs about my ex-girlfriends? I didn’t know how to do it. So I figured I’d pull out an electric guitar and see what happens — and it was fun,” he said.

But Radin added that while having an electric edge was exciting, he’s not leaving his acoustic roots behind. “It’s not like I’ve abandoned the acoustic way. In fact, the album that I just finished writing, and am about to start recording early [this]year, is completely acoustic and really mellow — almost like a back porch kind of listen. So I tried busy and louder and will probably come back to it as well at some point, but for this one, I wanted to come back to where I started,” Radin said.

Since he doesn’t even have a producer lined up yet for the new album, there’s no telling exactly when the album will come out, but he’s hoping it will be sometime in 2012. He said that since producers tend to work only in certain studios that he could end up anywhere, by the time he finds the right fit, but also added that he’d like to record in L.A., if at all possible. “It’d be nice to sleep in my own bed, but we’ll see. The last album I made was in London in the winter and it was dark and raining and I didn’t know anyone. It was a sad time,” Radin said.

But sad times are a part of Radin’s M.O. As he’s said before, many of his songs are about breakups and lost love, and this new album on the horizon will follow that same formula. “A lot of these are intimate acoustic songs that are honest accounts of what I’ve been through. I tend to write a lot when I’m sad. When I’m happy, I’m out enjoying it. So I guess I write a lot about falling in and out of love. For this album, though, I picture being down south on a wrap-around porch at night with a cup of coffee and throwing this album on and just listening,” he said.

When Radin hits Boulder this month, his show won’t be a “normal” concert, but instead an eTown radio show recording, the format of which dictates that Radin will play some songs, while also answering questions from eTown host, Nick Forster. Unlike many artists, Radin has always talked to his audiences and so the idea of having a pointed forum to do that is a liberating idea. “I like that kind of thing because, I don’t know how people do the whole Lady Gaga or Ziggy Stardust thing. I don’t get how people become a character on stage. It’s just too much work for me — trying to keep up a veil of a character,” Radin said. “People ask me questions on stage all of the time, and I love having that conversation with people and breaking down that fourth wall.”


:: Joshua Radin ::
:: w/ Sarah and Christian Dugas ::
:: eTown - Boulder Theater :: January 22 ::


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