In Nashville, Joshua Hedley is known as Mr Jukebox because chances are if you can name the song, he can play it.
“I know a little bit about [country music],” Joshua laughs. “I've been playing in cover bands and bars and honky-tonks since I was ten-years-old, so I've accumulated quite a repertoire of country music.
“I played for tips downtown and people throw a fiver in the tip jug and ask for a song, and probably nine times out of ten I can play it for them. You get to feeling like you're a bit of a jukebox, then someone called me Mr Jukebox one day and it sorta stuck.”
“I'm trying to put out art that I would listen to if it wasn't me singing it.”
After years of playing the songs of other artists, when Joshua finally released his debut album of original material in April no other title seemed more fitting than 'Mr Jukebox'. “I got to make the record I've always wanted to make, so I'm excited about it,” he says.
“I have a hard time watching myself on video and listening to myself and stuff like that, but I really like this record,” he laughs.
“I don't know if it's kosher to be a fan of your own record but I am. It's just the way that it came together, the production on it, the playing on it and the string arrangements; I really love it and I'm super-proud of it. I think for a first record I did a pretty good job.”
Joshua is a proud purveyor of the classic country sound, harking back to the traditional Nashville songwriting style that hasn't changed in over 50 years; basically, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
“I think it's perfect, every evolution of country music from the Carter family and Jimmy Rogers on up to [the late] Daryle Singletary and Wade Hayes,” Joshua says.
“I think every incarnation of country music is so good and so perfect and pure, and it all embodies the same sort of feel. It all has the same vibe in the sense that it has sincerity and simplicity.
“The '80s used a little more chords and the '90s sounded a little more shiny than Jimmy Rogers, but they're all singing about heartbreak; maybe yodelling went out of style but it's all the same, man.
"For me that's what I'm trying to do; I'm trying to put out art that I think I would listen to if it wasn't me singing it.”
Joshua will be in Australia this July on a national tour for 'Mr Jukebox', including performances at Groundwater Country Music Festival on the Gold Coast.
Though certainly no stranger to the country, it will be the first time Joshua gets to bring along his full band. “I can't wait, I'm excited. I've never gotten [sic] to bring a full band over and I'm excited to get to bring my real show to Australia for the first time and this is going to be great; I love it down there.
“It's one of my favourite places in the world and I've been ranting and raving about it for years to my lady friend and I'm like 'I hope some day I can take you over there and you can see how great it is'.
"So her band [Birdcloud] finally played over there [earlier this year] and she said 'I never want to leave' and I was like 'I told you!'”
Joshua Hedley Tour DatesThu 19 Jul - Leadbelly (Sydney)
Fri 20 Jul - Marrickville Bowling Club (Sydney)
Sat 21 Jul - The Bridge Hotel (Castlemaine)
Sun 22 Jul - Northcote Social Club (Melbourne)
Wed 25 Jul - Spotted Mallard (Melbourne)
Thu 26 Jul - Caravan Music Club (Melbourne)
27-29 Jul - Groundwater Country Music Festival (Gold Coast)