DUNCAN, OK – Josh Guthrie is a singer/songwriter hailing from a rural town in Oklahoma. He talks about his sound, the movement The Noise, his single “We Are Free,” and working as a team with his wife.
Who is Josh Guthrie?
I like things to be simple but I also like things to be excellent. I guess that would kinda sum me up. There’s no need to be overly complicated for it to be done well. I love music, I’ve always loved music. I talked to somebody about how Garth Brooks is coming out with a new album and how in kindergarten my show and tell was singing Garth Brook songs. I’ve been singing to people for a long time. Something about music connected with me and made sense. That’s a lot of who I am. Someone whom music has influenced greatly in a lot of different ways.
You work as a technician and sales person at an archery shop. Cam you tell me how that has influenced you?
It has become a bigger part of my life than I ever expected. I honestly love it and couldn’t imagine not doing it in some way. It’s a very time consuming and technically tedious job. But it’s rewarding. It’s interesting to see how such minor alterations in something like your grip placement, sight/rest adjustment, arrow weight, etc. can have such a profound impact on where your shot ends up. It’s no wonder that God used archery as an example in the bible. It’s so much like our lives. Minor changes and corrections direct is to our mark.
You are your wife Danielle make an amazing team. Can you tell me about your wife and how she influences your creativity?
I’ve always been a creative person but figuring out how to put that into a format that makes sense to other people was always tough for me; especially songwriting. I would write sections of songs and never finish them. I think a lot of that came from being unsure of myself, but whenever Danielle and I got together, she pushed me to reach out and finish what I’ve started. When I set out to start a song I won’t leave it until I’ve finished it. She always inspires me to be the best that I could be, and I don’t think I could do that if she wasn’t a part of my life.
I know you’ve seen her photography and a lot of the design work she does (Danielle Elizabeth Photography) is going from idea/concept to a completed work that you can share with somebody. THAT is an art form in and of itself and she’s really good at that. It’s incredible to see her thoughts and ideas that are actually tangible. That’s really inspiring to me. It helps me and reminds me that it’s actually possible. Before that I would get stuck and think there wasn’t an end in sight but she taught me how to not give up.
Tell me about “We Are Free.”
Danielle actually wrote all of the lyrics to that song. She co-writes a lot of my stuff. She looks at things from the perspective of somebody in the audience, and a lot of times as songwriters and artists we don’t put ourselves in that place very often. Having her say ‘from this perspective, these lyrics won’t make sense to someone else as they do to you’ would always help me to push myself to find a different way to say something; which is good as a writer to do. She has also written lyrics just as I am writing a song. She would say ‘this would sound really cool here, what do you think?’ and it would be perfect.
The interesting story about this song specifically is that we were on our way to the studio. All our songs were pretty much finished, except for this one. It was an instrumental track. I was racking my brain on what I would do with this track. I was gonna put it on the back burner and not do it, but I just loved the music to it. So on the way to the studio, which was an hour and a half drive, my wife said just ‘play it on a loop and give me a minute.’ So half way there she said ‘what do you think of these lyrics’ and it was done. So we walked in the studio, did it, and it was done.
What’s your approach to songwriting?
Lately I’ve been writing a lot off of experiences (mine and those I’m close to). If it makes me feel/respond a certain way, I’ll take it and write it down. A lot of the music I’ve been doing has been picking up an acoustic guitar and strumming. I find a rhythm and melody where everything is a cohesive movement. It’s been a little bit different than what my EP was, so as far as style it’s a little different. The EP was like writing worship songs because I felt like I needed to write them. I love those songs and I’m attached to them, but I feel like they’re not quite as deep as I’d like for them to be. Not just musically or lyrically but spiritually. I wish that I would’ve taken things to a deeper level than when I recorded those. A part of that is growing and learning.
What advice would you give to leaders, writers, and creatives that aspire to do what you’re doing right now?
Don’t do what is popular for the sake of what’s popular. Be true to what God has created you to be. There’s been a series from Life Church with Christine Caine speaking about the body and how each part has its own job and place. If that part of the body isn’t doing it’s job and wants to do something else it throws everything else out of whack. If your foot decides one day that I want to be a shoulder, not only is that crazy but it’s not gonna work. So that’s something that I’ve been learning. God created me and gave me the desire to write the way that I write, and the creative abilities/thought processes that I have for a reason. I’m not supposed to create to be an imitation, but unique to who I am and what He created me to be. If I create anything as an imitation, than that’s all it will ever be. If I do what I’ve been created to do and true to myself, and who I am; then it’s organic, believable and has a greater impact.
What’s coming up for Josh Guthrie?
I’m in the process of writing some music right now that I’m really excited about. It’s kinda what I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts to do. These new songs I feel like are more representative of me, my style of writing, and things that I enjoy playing. It may be a little more country/folky sounding and I’m excited about it. I’m working with Jaron Nix on this to develop the musical surroundings of these songs. We’re going to work on it during the fall and winter. I think it’s a lot deeper lyrically and emotionally.
Are we gonna hear Dawes influence on this record?
Dawes writes lyrics that you don’t immediately understand but immediately connect with, as well as writes music that’s familiar the first time you hear it. I know that’s super artsy of me to say but I feel like that’s how I should describe them. They’re definitely a huge influence to everyone that’s working on this. We’re also hoping to make use of the reel to reel tape machine here in the studio. There’s going to be a lot of earthy, Americana, throw back stuff on this record.
What is The Noise?
The Noise is an area wide worship night. A chance for people from different churches/denominations to worship together. It’s just an effort to help bring down walls in the body of Christ. As well as worship Christ with one voice the way we should. Why do we have to be separate anyway? Right? Fun fact, we have always done the noise on a zero budget. It’s powered entirely by volunteers. We have been blessed with some incredible people who have helped move this ministry forward.
One more questions: How would you describe your sound in colors? (This is an old question I asked you but it was legit Lol)
I believe I once described my music to you as an antique yellow/brownish feel. Like the pages of and old book. But I think that my music is picking up a few more colors. Deep greens and burgundy maybe? lol. Some deeper, more rich tones that tell more of a story than before. Still earthy but with a lot more life! I always love this question. I think that the answer will always change with this one. But I think that it should.