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Draggin' Main Music Festival: Led to singing


June 23, 2019

For Josh Wilson, it was no accident.

No serendipity. No coincidence.

Wilson’s life, like everyone’s, has taken him on a path. But because of his deep spirituality, Wilson thinks he was led to a career as a Christian singer/songwriter.

“God knows what the plans are. I don’t really know what they are,” he said Thursday in a telephone interview from Nashville. “He kind of put the things together where they are in my life. So I’m thankful for that.”

Be it Providence or some fortunate booking, perhaps both, Wilson will be performing at the Draggin’ Main Music Festival, which begins today, though Wilson won’t hit the stage until Faith and Family Night on Wednesday at Marshall Auditorium.

“Man, I’m really excited,” Wilson said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m not scared of hot (weather). I grew up in Lubbock, I’m used to it. I’ll take hot over cold; cold means my fingers won’t work.”

Wilson’s career is the product of a lifelong passion, resulting from years of training and a lucky break in college. It was during his Lubbock upbringing that he took an early interest in music.

“I started piano lessons in the fourth grade and guitar and drums in the sixth grade,” Wilson said. “My first lessons in music were in fourth grade; I started to really get into music in middle school and high school.”

Wilson’s interest in music along with being the son of a Baptist pastor seemed to logically lead him on the path toward Christian music.

“It was kind of a natural fit to write about the things that I grew up learning and hearing,” Wilson said. “It just made a lot of sense to me to sing about my faith.”

In 2002 both father and son moved from Lubbock to Nashville — the former to take up a ministry there, the latter to attend college at Belmont University, a Christian liberal arts school. While attending Belmont, the younger Wilson got his first whiff of touring, doing so regionally at colleges, coffee houses and churches.

Wilson studied business and music at Belmont, seemingly perfect courses of study for someone who wanted to make music a career. “It was fun to learn all the things that are now apropos to me in the music industry,” he said.

As Wilson continued his studies, he started to see a slightly different path than the one he had originally intended for himself, when he began as a commercial guitar major. “I thought I wanted to play guitar maybe behind the scenes at a studio,” he recalled, “but I got more interested in song writing.”

And to further that aim, he entered showcases while still in college. “I realized if I wanted anyone to hear the songs, the best way to make that happen was to sing them myself,” Wilson said.

He entered performance showcases at Belmont, including the Christian Music Showcase, which he won.

Judging one of the showcases happened to be an assistant for an artists and repertoire signer from Capitol Records. Wilson had already released an independent album, and when the a&r assistant passed the music on to her boss at Capitol, he was impressed.

“I ended up in his office the next week,” Wilson said. “It still took a year and a half before I signed my first record deal.”

Part of the reason was that Wilson wanted to finish school. So the a&r rep told him to stay in touch. Eventually, the deal was done with Sparrow — an imprint of Capital — the album was released, and Wilson was on his way.

It seemed everything was falling into place, a result of his faith, he thinks.

“Yeah, it was kind of cool to have a path laid out in front of me,” he said, “even though that wasn’t why I moved to Nashville. I find that a common theme in my life, where doors open and I have to be kicked through them.”

His career also indirectly helped him meet his future wife Becca. They were introduced by mutual friends while Wilson was on a tour stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Becca hadn’t even seen the show, but there was an instant connection when they met.

They were married a year and a day after meeting, and 10 years later, they remain together with a 3-year-old son Asher.

Wilson says being a Christian songwriter has been great for the relationship.

“I’m kind of an introvert,” Wilson said. “My wife, she’s thankful I’m a songwriter because it gives her a peek into my head. ... She gets to see where I’m at through my music. Sometimes I don’t even know how I’m thinking. ... It gives me a read on my deepest feelings and I find that a very helpful process as far as expressing my own emotions.”

Wilson, like the late Prince, plays several instruments on his albums and weaves it into one big musical product. There’s harmonica, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboard, organ, drum pad, drum set, percussion and some miscellaneous instruments.

Wilson brings it all together to provide the best albums and the best live performances he can give.

“This is a good show for all ages,” he said. “I would say hopefully there’s going to be something for just about everybody. Radio songs and deep cuts. I’ll be sharing some of the stories behind the songs and just looking forward to meeting everybody at the show.”

Among those having fun will be Wilson himself.

“It keeps me entertained,” Wilson said, “that’s for sure.”


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