New York loves this boy. So do I, and so should you.
Joshua Novak is a Denver native who creates intense and awesome singer-songwriter material comparable to the emergent New York solo artist scene that holds claim to such burgeoning acts as Devendra Banhart and Kimya Dawson.
During an evening discussion with a Twin Beaks Shiraz and a Luis Bernard Cotes Du Rhone at the Paris Wine Bar, Joshua told me that he doesn’t care to be lumped into the singer-songwriter category.
“I write music and lyrics, but everybody brings something to it.” He says in reference to bassist Giovanni Toninelo, drummer Arbon Reimer and sometimes the electronically proficient Gann Mathews.
Joshua also doesn’t care to take flight to a city where his sort of career is so established that one could search for openings on Craigslist. He would rather contribute to the local music scene.
He tells me, “I like being in Denver a lot. I can’t tell you how many friends I have who are taking off for New York right now; it kind of annoys me. I think that’s why we aren’t seeing more great things coming out of Denver. I see cities with the same relative population as Denver and they have a bigger music scene. I don’t understand it.”
Josh admits that there are some impressive things coming out of Denver these days. “I think the Hot IQ’s are great. I think the Swayback are great. Born in the Flood are terrific.”
To feel the Joshua Novak experience is to feel a blunted rage. With a soft voice, his words make you listen. His lyrics take you off guard, make you feel like your face has been cut as you turn the corner, but you can’t help but keep walking down his path. I feel forewarned listening to him. A bit sleeping lion, Josh is not afraid of rejection; he’s insured against it by this buffer of ferocity.
“Everything I do comes from a very emotional place for me.” He clarifies, “Not that I’m a drama queen, but I’m a very emotional person. I also like to throw out conventional ways of doing things.”
Joshua released his first offering himself, as a limited demo, and has kept the ball in his own court by self-releasing an EP entitled The 5 Day Romance.
Of course broad recognition comes to those with talent. Last year Joshua entered the Modmusic Records Indie Band Search (in N.Y.C., incidentally) and was one of 15 winners out of 600 entrants. This is putting Joshua on the world market through a Modmusic compilation CD.
Josh is also giving you several opportunities to check out the buzz. He’ll be appearing at the Naropa Performing Arts Center in Boulder on March 27; Denver’s Larimer Lounge on March 30; and at Bender’s Tavern, also in Denver, April 4.