Our neighbors invited us to a “listening” party last weekend for their friend Josh Hisle — an indie singer songwriter who is also a Marine Corps vet who served two tours in Iraq. So, how does a roofer turned soldier from Ohio become a singer songwriter on the radar of some very influential artists? The turning point of Josh’s story is when Neil Young invited him to a hotel so he could hear Josh play his song, “Traitor’s Death.” But how did Josh end up there in the first place?
It all started on 9/11 when, like so many young people, Josh signed up for the Marines. An embedded journalist heard Josh playing while he was serving in Iraq and years later the journalist shared with Young the video of Josh playing, which led to the hotel room summons. Josh’s interaction in that hotel room and later with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on the bus and at a show, plus a concert by Josh the following night, resulted in an 18 minute short film CSNY: Déjà Vu which was directed by Young. Josh went to Sundance to help promote the film and eventually was invited to go on tour and open for Stephen Stills. Quite a story.
When we saw him on Saturday, he was fresh off the tour with Stills. Josh was tired, but so engaging and refreshing — and frankly one of the most moving singer songwriters I have met in a long time. Many of his songs examine the lasting impacts of war, truly a voice for our times, but one that transcends age. He does a combo of blues and folk and can rock the acoustic like no one. He travels on tour with close friends who are singer songwriters in their own right, and together they make some great music.
Here’s Josh’s latest release called Whiskey at Home.
Josh and southern Indiana picker/producer Tim Bennington joined forces here. This record came out about a year ago.
- Stephen Stills with Josh Hisle to Open at The State Theatre TOMORROW, October 25th at The State Theatre (thevalleyvoice.org)