This artist spotlight is dedicated to the lead singer of Josh Orange and the mastermind behind the Sydney community initiative Open Road Sounds. None other than my old friend Gordon Burke. Big ups bro!
I’ve mentioned my good friend Gordon throughout these blogs and his words, advice and truth have guided me throughout my career as an underground hip hop artist. What better way to give back than have him on an artist spotlight?
Passion is passion, regardless of genre.
Josh Orange are currently working on their fourth studio album – Midnight Lights – and have just released their biggest single to-date Little Miss America.
Lets get into it. Enjoy!
how long have you been doing music
“I picked up the drums at 11 and joined my first band at 16, they never had a name but we played a lot of English songs like ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and stuff like that. I decided very quickly I didn’t want to do covers and joined my first original band just after my 18th birthday. I was the drummer for three years with Both Ends Burning.”
Great name bro.
“I then decided I wanted to be a singer and songwriter, so I started ‘Suddenly Smith’ when I was 21. We did quite well, had a small hit in Ireland and toured for a few years. When I moved to Sydney in 1997 I joined a band with Andrew Wass the guitarist in Josh Orange, but I moved on to join Oblivia in 1998 and sign a deal with J Albert & Sons via Harry Vanda, and then BMG/RCA records.”
Dope! What was that like?
“I got to see Australia a few times over the four years we were together. Toured with bands like ‘The Whitlams’, ‘The Screaming Jets’ (Dave Gleeson is a beautiful guy), ‘Killing Heidi’, ‘Vanessa Amorosi’, ‘Mental as Anything’, Welsh band ‘Catatonia’, the list is quite long. In 2005 I reunited with Andrew and Blaine Munnings, our bass player, then Alex Miller joined us on drums from Brisbane band ‘Dream Poppies’, and finally Shane McLaughlin joined us from Newtons Cradle..
..we released the first Josh Orange album in 2006, and we are about to release the fourth one in 2020.” – Feature artist Gordon Burke.
what inspires you
“The basic instinct to create has been there since I was about 14 years old. I grew up in a house full of musicians. My dad was a professional musician: guitar/vocals, mainly covers…but was part of the show-band era back in Ireland with the Royal show-band.
There were always musicians around and I started helping out at gigs and maybe jumping on the drums at this age. I think inspiration is overrated. I love music, I love to write and I love to try and perfect my craft with hard work. Maybe that is inspiration but I think it’s more a driving force, a natural thing if you like.”
Interesting. So was that what got you into music then? Being around it?
“It was in the family, I was born into music. From father to son.”
artists that influenced you
The Eagles, Deep Purple, Steely Dan, George Benson (In Flight), and a lot of female singers like Rita Coolidge, Anne Murray, Maura O’Connell, The Carpenters..
As I’ve developed as a songwriter the ones that have influenced me the most would be: U2, Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Buckley, Ryan Adams, that’s just some of the ones that come to mind.”
Do you have ideal conditions you write in?
“I have written in many different ways over the years: on the road, on an iPhone, on a tape deck, but never on paper. I cannot write lyrics first. I come up with a sketch of a song, chords and melody. Once I have the sketch I work on the structure and finally the lyrics.
Once I have that rough draft I pass it on to the Josh Orange team and we take it wherever it needs to go as a band. All songs we credit equally as a band, it works well. I do have a home studio where I keep a guitar, a mic, a piano and Pro tools. That is the most comfortable place to write for me.
little miss america and josh orange
The artist spotlight continues as we delve deeper into Josh Orange and the hit-single Little Miss America. Our feature artist Gordon breaks it down for us.
Josh Orange: ‘a folk-rock group with just a dollop of Dublin, Ireland in lead singer and songwriter Gordon Burke. The line-up rounded out by guitarists Andrew Wass and Shane McLaughlin, with Alex Miller driving the drum-kit.’
What inspired you to write the hit Little Miss America?
“Little Miss America came about after I spent a night in Kris Kristofferson’s old Nashville apartment during a trip to the US late in 2018. I couldn’t sleep. I’m in this tiny one-bedroom apartment with all kinds of guitars on the wall, and I’m going through the pictures painted by Kris in his song Sunday Morning Coming Down… the closet, the bathroom, the walk down to the street. The vibe in the place was just electric, and I spent the night writing the song.
I finished the lyric in New York after having breakfast in the West Side Avenue diner Miss America. The waitress in the diner very much inspired the lyric. I hope she forgives my never getting to ask her name. The experience was incredibly powerful.”
*Josh Orange already have several albums under their collective belt and are proud to have won a rock category prize in 2015’s The Great American Song Contest. Little Miss America is the first single off their forthcoming album, Midnight Lights, scheduled for release in August and distributed through Believe Music.
Little Miss America was released on June 19th 2020 to critical acclaim and reached number 10 on the AMRAP Regional Australian charts.*
artist spotlight - feature
Big ups Gordon for taking the time to share with us in such detail in Artist Spotlight. I found that fascinating. Gordon has been in the game for a minute and has a wealth of knowledge and experience and a massive body of work. Respect bro.
It’s interesting to hear other creatives processes and perspectives.
Much love to everyone rocking with ya boi Prim!