Shrewsbury's Josh Lobley hoping biographical tales can inspire - unsigned column
Shrewsbury's Josh Lobley is prolific - readying his third release in as many years, which appears tomorrow.
The Fireside Lullabies EP follows on from 2018's These Six Strings and Chapters from last year, and again sees the troubadour lay the world to rights with his trusty guitar in his hands. Some tracks have a full-band sound, some are more intimate.
And most importantly, they perform an autobiographical therapy session for the musician - one the 30-year-old hopes will help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
"This was predominantly written when I had time off from work when I was suffering with anxiety," the former The Priory School pupil, who also plays mandolin, said. "The theme of the whole EP is how I felt at the time of writing about the world and how I perceive things.
"I was always told that if I’m to write songs then write from the heart, which I think strongly comes across with this EP. Four out of the five songs I wrote specifically for this EP, with the exception of 15 Years On which was written about three years ago. All my songs I like to think are stories which some people may be able to relate to."
"Like my previous two EPs there are five tracks. It’ll be available on hard copy CD as well as all online stores like Spotify, Amazon Music etc."
Like previous release Chapters, it was recorded at Moose's Music Hole in Willenhall with producer and engineer Jamie Russon also adding drums and bass coming from Luke Carswell. The CDs were also produced at Golding Replication in Telford.
"This one is definitely a clear progression in my songwriting and I feel my best material yet," Lobley adds. "All my songwriting evolves around my thoughts and feelings but this one in particular focuses on some tougher times I’ve faced. Some events more recent than others.
"Anyone who hasn’t heard my music can expect heartfelt songs with a strong passion to engage with an audience, which I feel also shows at my gigs. It’s Frank Turner-esque, which I’ve been told before, and this is due to his huge influence on my writing."
And for those fans hoping to hear all the material in its raw essence, they won't have long to wait. As well as the EP dropping tomorrow, Lobley will be setting up at his hometown's Albert's Pour House on Frankwell to perform it in full - as well as delicacies from his previous work.
"It will be my first ever launch show," he adds. "I’m really hoping it is a success. I’m very nervous about holding my own event and dreading the idea it might be a dud, but that being said, I’m really looking forward to it and confident it’ll be a great, fun night either way.
"I’ve not got too many gigs lined up as of yet but I’ve got bookings in the pipeline all over the Midlands and further afield. Once confirmed, I’ll announce these [via his social media channels]."
The night kicks off at 8.30pm, with support provided by Dan Williams.
Lobley was keen to get people involved with his new work, asking fans to send in videos of themselves singing or miming along to his latest single Digital Age, which is the second track on the EP. They submitted these to him, and the video he created using the clips is set to be released on his YouTube channel in due course.
"The idea was for people to record on a camera of any sort themselves singing or miming to the track. It didn't matter if they were on their own or in a group of friends or family, the video was then edited to include everyone with the track playing over the top.
"It was all about having fun and being involved with, not just myself, but everyone else involved. I decided to do a video like this to try and produce something that shows as a collective and how I feel music should be represented, everyone together and involved having fun."
And it ties in with his views on the Shropshire music scene and getting others involved in a thriving if lesser-known community. He hopes that somewhere out there are more artists toying with the idea of releasing their work and that they might follow him into the live music venues of his hometown to grow its cultural offering, particularly to younger people.
"I do feel there can be limitations being in a town like Shrewsbury [rather than a city] due to an obvious less choice of venues. But, that being said, Shrewsbury and Shropshire has a great music scene with some real talent on the circuit. I enjoy a challenge and you often hear of artists who are more established from the bigger cities so maybe I can change that and try and get Shrewsbury on the map. Who knows?
"The only advice I can give is to have confidence in your own ability - which I struggle with myself - and get whatever gigs you can. Open mic nights are a great way to see how you feel playing in front of people and how you react to an audience. It’s all building experience and learning your craft.
"The main thing is to enjoy what you do and never lose that. Music is meant to be enjoyed at all levels and doesn’t matter where in the room you’re stood, whether it’s in front of people or you’re in the audience. Enjoy it for what it is.
"That’s what I try to do."
Hard copies of Fireside Lullabies will be available for £5 at the launch gig at Albert's Pour House tomorrow, or through contacting Josh on social media at @joshlobleymusic89 on Facebook, @josh.lobley1 on Instagram or @LobleyJosh on Twitter. It can also be streamed on all online music platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music etc, and the YouTube link above. The single Digital Age will be released just on YouTube. Josh can also be contacted though his email address - firstname.lastname@example.org - or through Dying Ember Records, based in Milton Keynes, who handle distribution for him.