Josh Goodlett: What You See - And Hear - Is What You Get
Country singer Josh Goodlett says he likes artists who are the “real deal,” who believe in themselves and perform music that is sincere and heartfelt and who connect with the fans. While he doesn’t seem to quite be aware of it, he’s talking about himself.
Goodlett is a natural singer who grew up with parents who sang and cousins who played instruments, and he’s been “singing since before he could talk.” But to succeed in the music business, natural ability is only one piece of the puzzle. Another essential element is the willingness to work hard, and Josh was born willing. A native of Northern Kentucky and Southern Indiana farm country, he grew up with traditions you might imagine as a way of life there, getting up before the crack of dawn for chores and singing in the church choir on Sunday mornings.
“I had to feed calves before school, and I helped my grandpa and uncles in the tobacco fields and worked for one of my uncles on a dairy farm,” he says of his boyhood in Taylorsville, Kentucky, not far from Louisville. “I’m no stranger to what country folks have to do in terms of getting up in the morning and working hard.”
While his family was musical, Josh had never really considered music to be anything more than a part of everyday life during his rural upbringing. But the applause he received after singing “Amazing Grace” as a teenager at a Christmas Eve church service changed that notion. He learned that he could move people with his voice, and became interested in making a go of it as a performer. It would be a while before he would strap on a guitar and start writing Country songs, but when he did, it came just as easily as singing did.
When Goodlett performs he fits right in with today’s crop of Country artists, while recalling the sound of the legends. It’s easy to hear echoes of such artists as Tim McGraw and Eric Church, and the confidence of George Strait, Blake Shelton or Toby Keith, in the voice of this man who tells it like it is. And he won’t settle for anything less than major success. “I plan to be a headlining act with a record deal, that’s what I’m after,” he says in a drawl that’s as much Southern Hoosier as Appalachian. “The Lord willing, that’s what I’ll get.” And when that success comes, a grueling life on the road is sure to follow, but it’s something he is prepared for.
“I played around 100 shows in 2014, in Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana and all over Kentucky,” he says. “Mostly bars, but I’ve also played some festivals, sometimes as the headliner.” The ever-modest Goodlett doesn’t mention, though, his opening slots for such nationally-recognized acts as Kip Moore, Will Hoge, Tyler Farr, Michael Ray and legend-in-the-making Shooter Jennings, backed by his late father Waylon’s band Waymore’s Outlaws. Additionally, Josh has shared the stage with Jeff Bates, Andy Griggs, Danielle Peck and Brian White to name a few.
As the father of five kids, it’s no surprise that Josh supports charitable organizations that help children. These include Aiden’s Legacy, which supports pediatric cancer research at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, and Riley’s G.R.A.C.E., a foundation that supports families dealing with a child's health crisis. And as someone who has had nearly a dozen relatives serve in the Armed Forces, Goodlett also supports the Wounded Warrior Project.
When it comes to his faith and the storms of life, he lets his music do the talking. “I’ve got a real good relationship with God, and I basically go by the Bible … I don’t necessarily consider myself any denomination, I just consider myself a Christian.”
Much of Josh’s original material, which is hard-hitting and insightful yet also sometimes lighthearted and humorous, is co-written with Nashville hitmaker Bobby E. Boyd, who is responsible for chart-topping songs by Alabama, Rascal Flatts and others. “I met Bobby a couple years ago when I came down to Nashville to record a demo,” Josh recalls. “He asked me why I was doing this, and I told him I wanted to touch people with my music. I’m not in this for the money. When I told him that, he said that he’d help me in any way he could, and we’ve been friends ever since.”
As a singer, an entertainer and a songwriter, Goodlett says that one of his biggest influences is Kenny Chesney. Josh doesn’t just draw inspiration from the Country arena, though. He respects artists of all genres who are the “real deal” who believe in what they’re singing, citing acts like Elvis, AC/DC, and even Reggae legend Bob Marley. “I like Marley because he stood up for what he believed in, and it came through in his music. But I like everyone from Otis Redding to Hank Williams, Conway Twitty and Hank Jr., and I’m a huge fan of Gary Allan. If it’s good it’s good, it doesn’t matter what genre it is. Those people all make a statement, and I want to get my music across the same way.”
Goodlett’s upcoming album is an honest collection of songs about family, friendship and American life that will strike a chord with everyone who hears it. The first single, “Why You Gotta Be That Way,” gently takes a friend to task for not recognizing how lucky he is to have the love of a good woman. “Town Where I Grew Up” is a heartfelt remembrance of small-town life, while “Not On My Street” is a candid look at a neighbor who paid a dear price to help keep America free. “I Don’t Usually Do This” is the story of a man who has let his guard down and let his heart find a home, while the nostalgic “Old Friends, Old Whiskey, Old Songs” speaks to the universal love of reminiscence.
In the end, few people are as secure in who they are and what they represent as Josh Goodlett, who leaves no doubt about who he is as a Country singer and a man. “I’m pretty personable. I’m ‘what you see is what you get.’ I’m down to earth. I love God, my family and this country, and that’s basically who I am. That’s what I stand for. And I think there are still quite a few people out there who believe in the same things.”