I love that I am able to bring you all this week’s ‘5 Shots’. It is heartfelt & real because that is just the kind of person Josh Morningstar is. I consider this guy family & I am very happy that I am able to be a small part in spreading his story and his music. I hope you guys enjoy this read as much as I did.
Round 1 – You have a new album about to be released can you tell us a little about it?
The new record, “Whole Lotta Crazy” comes out Sept. 29th. It’s the culmination of the last few years of my life-ups, downs, etc. All the songs except for one (“Memories Cost A lot” written by Billy Don Burns) were written by me and brought to life by the excellent group of musicians I’m lucky to have not only as my band but as my friends. They are:
Bobby Miller-lead guitar
Greg Johnson-steel guitar
Michelle Lucas-bass and background vocals
Eric Avey-drums and background vocals
This is EASILY the best record I’ve ever made. The musicians are all top notch and I feel the songs are as well. I write my life-if I’m singing it, I lived it, simple as that. To quote the great Harlan Howard, “three chords and the truth.”
Round 2 – You openly mention your past issues with drugs in your songs, Could you tell us some about you past and your story so maybe hearing it will help someone else out there that is in the darkness find the light?
I’m a recovering heroin addict. Good Lord willing I’ll have 6 years clean October 17th. I was bad on the shit-at my worst I was shooting up 2 grams of heroin a day, which for those unfamiliar is a lot of dope. I was the worst kind of junkie-I lied, I stole, I did anything I could to get my next fix. I was a bad person and a bad father. Rehabs, NA, none of that worked for me. I woke up one morning, dope sick as hell, looked in the mirror and made up my mind that I was either gonna overdose and kill myself that day, or I was gonna get clean. I chose to get clean. Still deciding if I made the right choice (that’s a joke lol). I talk about it openly bc I like helping those who are where I was. I risk being labeled “the drug guy” by those that don’t understand where I’m coming from, and sometimes that bothers me, but it would bother me more if I didn’t help others. That’s the main reason I’m so open about it-I want to show people that you CAN make it out, that you CAN change, that it CAN be better. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Round 3 – I know that you just got married to your wife Tess, can you tell us how you guys met and the story there?
Tess and I met after she stalked me on Facebook lol. She waited til I was single, when she saw that I was she sent me a msg that said “hey.” I thought she was beautiful so I asked her out. She agreed, then she cancelled the day we were supposed to go out-turns out a friend of hers knew me and knew my reputation and had convinced her that I wasn’t right for her. Luckily she ended up not listening, apologized for cancelling, and we went out the next night. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say I sang her “Blues Man” by Hank Jr., and the next morning when we woke up we went to church together lol.
Round 4 – Most of your fans know that you love Billy Don Burns can you tell us about that relationship and who some of your other major musical influences are?
Where to begin. Billy Don tells the story of the first time we met like this (these are his words):
“I was playing at some little honky tonk down on Lower Broadway in Nashville. Before the show started, I was onstage tuning my guitar. This kid walks up to me, doesn’t say a word, just opens up his shirt. He had the name of one of my songs, “Honky Tonk Singer,” tattooed across his chest. I knew right then and there that that kid had heart and that I liked him.”
That story is true, and that’s exactly how we met. I’d known BD’s music long before I’d ever met him-the first song of his I heard was “Dark Side of the Spoon.” As a junkie at the time that song hit me like no other song ever had before. I immediately dove into his catalog. I studied every song he had recorded, and to this day have every one of them memorized-it makes me smile that when he can’t remember how a song starts or what key a certain song is in he calls me. He’s taught me so much-not only about songwriting and the music business, but about life. We’ve done a lot of the same stuff right, but maybe more importantly, a lot of the same stuff wrong. He’s been the best teacher a guy like me could ask for-aside from that, he’s the best friend a guy could have. BD is one of a kind, and if I never receive any other “accolades” from the music business, knowing that Billy Don Burns told me were cut from the same cloth is all the praise I’ll ever need.
Other than BDB, some of my other musical influences are guys like Hank Sr., Waylon, Dale Watson, George Jones, Lefty Frizzell, the Hag, Kristofferson, and Keith Whitley. I’m a student of the history of country music and try to add a little from each person I look up to into my own music. I try to write honestly like ol’ Hank and Kristofferson; I try to be smooth vocally like Haggard, Jones, Keith and Lefty; I try to purvey the same kind of energy onstage as guys like Waylon and Dale. Obviously those guys are in a league of their own and I’m not even on the same field, but I do my best to make my heroes proud.
Round 5 – What is some of your favorite things to do outside of the music World?
I really don’t have a lot of things I do outside of music-it’s pretty much my whole life. If I’m not writing songs I’m booking shows; if I’m not booking shows I’m trying to think of creative marketing strategies; if it’s not that it’s something else. It goes on and on. I guess studying the history of country music would be something you could say I do for fun-I can talk for hours and hours about where our kinda music came from. We can go back to Jones and Haggard, or further back to Hank and Lefty. We could go all the way back to Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter family. I’ve only met three people that know more about country music than I do: Gary Hayes, Sara Leann Turner, and Owen Mays. Sadly Owen is no longer with us. I’m not saying there aren’t more people out there than that that know more about the history of our kinda music than I do-obviously there are-just that those are the only ones I’ve personally met. Aside from my wife and kids, country music is my life.
Oh yeah, we watch “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” and “The Office” in the tour van. I like those shows.
Last Call – this is an open message to your fans.
I don’t have “fans,” I have friends. It’s bc of the people that enjoy my music that I’m able to feed my family and put a roof over their heads. That’s not something a “fan” does-that’s what friends do. I’m not a “headline” act-I’m not selling out shows, or selling all kinds of records. I’m a road dog-we do 300+ shows a year. We play the bars, the joints, the honky tonks. We roll into town, have a good time with our friends, then we head to the next one and do it over again. It’s bc of the people that enjoy my music that keep me going. If you like what I do, tell someone else about me. Come to a show. Tune into “Good Morning Live” Monday thru Friday at 10am Eastern on my Facebook page. I make music for my friends, but I also do it bc I have to. I do it bc if I don’t, well, I’ve been down that road-it ends with me dying a broken down junkie. Country music is my whole life, and I love it. It’s what I do, and it’s what I’ll always do. However, without you guys there’s no me. So from my heart, from my family and myself, thank you. I love you all.