Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

March 7, 2014

Former TC student teacher returns as singer-songwriter

Josh Rose found musical inspiration in some unusual places growing up on a sheep farm in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Much of it came from his grandfather, “the consummate lounge player,” churning out old standards on a Hammond organ in a back room in Sault Ste. Marie.

Then there were the many hours sifting through cassette tapes in record stores in a ceaseless quest for good music, including albums by Bruce Springsteen.

“I used to wear a bandanna around my head and act like Bruce,” Rose jokes.

Rose now is a seasoned singer/songwriter and no longer “acts like Bruce,” but certainly boasts an impressive inventory of insightful and personally compelling songs influenced by Springsteen and a host of other rootsy artists.

Rose by day works as a chemistry teacher in Lake Odessa, about 30 miles from his home in Ada, and released his first album, “firework letdown,” back in 2004, followed by “Slow Bloom” in 2007. He’s currently “progressing swimmingly” on his third studio album at Mackinaw Harvest Music in Grand Rapids.

“I believe we have the skeleton of a splendid folk-electronic hybrid that will, hopefully, engage listeners in a rich experience of poetry and atmosphere,” Rose offers. “It’s been an awesome technological ride.”

Writing songs and pursuing music as a vocation has meant juggling a teaching job and family responsibilities — he has a pre-school daughter — but he concedes it’s a passion that continues to drive him forward.

“I’ve got a long commute every day … so my mind goes where it goes and usually that’s a lot of my writing,” he says. “It’s constant. It’s part of who I am.”

With a striking, versatile voice, his tunes “run the gauntlet of humanity” — the joys, sorrows, victories and letdowns of life. “I just want to make music an expression of who I am,” he said.

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