The Mahogany Minute is designed for those who haven’t got a huge amount of time on their hands, and artists who have even less. Every artist continues the same lines, and we all get to learn a little bit more about them.
Josh Garrels has been crafting multifaceted sounds from his home studio for over a decade, the most recent product of which is his full-length album entitled ‘Home’, released April 7th. Throughout the 11-track album Garrels takes us on a homeward-bound journey during which the subject of his songs discovers – as if for the first time – an emotionally rich world overrun with experiences of love, sin, forgiveness, and heritage. Each song stands strong on its own, but consider the album in it’s entirety, and you quickly recognise that each individual encounter melts into the larger and essential story of finding the comfort and warmth of home.
While his lyrics paint a distinctive picture of an emotionally rich rural life with peaks and valleys, the music that accompanies them is made up of welcoming eclectic sounds reaching from Folk to Hip/Hop to Soul to Bluegrass. ‘Home’ will undoubtedly spark self-reflection in listeners and cultivate questions of what it means to find that balanced and wholesome state of being.
My parents… are Mike & Marti Garrels.
I was born… outside of Detroit, Michigan but grew up in various cities throughout Indiana.
Now you can find me… and my wife Michelle in Portland, Oregon, where we’ve lived for the past six years with our growing family.
It all started when… when I was four years old and sang the song “pretty little bluebird” with my head inside a clothes dryer, because I liked how it sounded. When I finished singing and emerged from the dryer, I saw that my mother had stopped folding laundry and was looking at me with big smile on her face. She told me that I’d sung beautifully, and I must have taken it to heart.
Music has… been a constant companion to me throughout my life. Not just in the background or the periphery of things, I don’t co-habitate with it, on the contrary music plays a vital role in my daily search for meaning, expression, truth, and solace. I gravitate to it, and find often enough it’s riches are inexhaustible, and in this, I fancy myself and explorer with the belief that there are new songs and sounds yet to be discovered.
If I’m not on stage or in the studio… I’m with my wife Michelle and my children Heron, Shepherd, and Peregrin. We’ve got a 105 year old house in Portland (which is old for an American house) that I like to keep up. I’ve always been somewhat of a homebody. Home is a sanctuary to me. I like to read, run, watch a good movie, and go skateboarding from time to time…although I’m still nursing a fractured arm from last time I decided to skate a cement bowl.
The music industry… has never played a serious role in my career. I began recording, producing, and distributing my own music in the early 2000’s, and was privileged enough to begin doing so right when the internet boom really began. That was the first time (in history?) it was possible for an artist to bypass the industry and make they’re music available internationally via digital files, websites, etc. I’ve never had a manager, never signed to a label, haven’t sold my publishing, and have never used a publicist. It’s been a joy to build my career through word of mouth, and interact directly with my fans over the years.
I’ve never been…to Europe! That is if you don’t count a layover in Berlin on my way to Israel. I’m looking forward to the day that I make it over there and hopefully play some shows!
I wish… “you can wish your life away” is what my dad used to tell me when I would start a sentence with “I wish…”. That was his way of asking me what I was going to do about it. I’m a dreamer at heart, but I think this instilled in me a work ethic to buckle down and get it done, while not losing sight of the highest peaks I hope to climb. So…I’m hoping to make albums the rest of my life…ideally creating my best work when I’m in my 60’s and 70’s.
One song… that continues to entrance me 15 years after I first heard it is Nick Drake’s “From The Morning”.
If I’ve learnt something in the past three years… it’s the freedom that comes from discipline and creating a life-giving schedule. I know these sound like the antithesis of an “artistic lifestyle” but I’ve found them to actually be a vital part of what makes the life of a vocational artist actually work. On any given day inspiration may come, and it many not, but my commitment is to show up and push into my craft of creating music. As a self-employed musician I also need to know when to put the work down, when to leave the studio, and when to say no to another tour or opportunity…for the sake of cultivating a healthy home life and interior life. Often times, like a restful vacation, good things need to be planned for, or life has a way of just bowling over you and keeping you busy busy busy.
This years highlight… so far has been the release of my album “Home” on April 7th, 2015. It always feels good to be done with a big project, and to let it begin to fly away on its own. Life has bee a bit more sane since it’s release.
If you listen to my music for first time… your first impression may not be applicable to all my songs. There are elements of folk music, soul, orchestral, bluegrass, hip hop, world music, and classic rock sprinkled throughout my catalog, so if you have the patience, try sample a bunch of songs before making your verdict..for you may just find something you like!