Geographically, there is only a handful of places further east on the North American continent than Moncton. For all intents and purposes then, you could say that indie-folk-blues-pop troubadour Josh Royse is travelling from coast to coast for one show.
That show, of course, happens to be a part of a larger bill at Moncton’s Casino New Brunswick on New Year’s Eve where Royse will perform alongside Canadian rock bands Big Wreck and Matt Mays.
Royse is not a complete stranger to Metro Moncton. This past summer, he had the opportunity to open for the legendary B.B. King at Casino New Brunswick, giving him the chance to introduce his music to a whole new set of ears.
It was an experience that Royse admits has continued to amaze him, despite the fact that several months have since passed.
“The experience of playing a show with B.B. King is hard to relay in words,” Royse says. “Imagine building a group over the course of 10 years, playing smoky bar gigs and clubs with liquor-slick floors and slowly building that project up into something that took you to play for the greatest legend in your favourite genre. It was, quite simply, a dream come true for me. It was something so big that my entire life evolved in one evening.”
And though Moncton differs from Royse’s hometown of Los Angeles in many ways, the singer-songwriter has nothing but praise for our community:
“We found out that Moncton is a heavenly, cozy place that me and the guys in my band have treasured deeply. We have been anxiously looking forward to returning for nearly half a year now.”
Royse’s life hasn’t always been based in Los Angeles. A native of Turpin, Oklahoma, Royse was a first-hand witness to the glorious life of a rockstar thanks to his father.
“My father was in an ’80’s rock ‘hair band’ when I was a child,” Royse shares. “I watched his band convert an old school bus into their touring spaceship, acquire all sorts of complex music gear with knobs and lights that looked like they were straight from a science fiction novel, practice in big abandoned warehouses and play shows for open air festivals and churches, all of which intrigued me to no end and got my creative juices flowing. It was actually my grandmother that taught me to play piano which subsequently ignited my passion for making and playing music.”
He notes that those styles lent a unique kind of musical inspiration to his world view. He admits that he is notorious among his peers for being ignorant of many big name acts and “most of the great music of our history and musicians of our time.”
Whether it was that cultural alienation or other factors at play, Royse uprooted his life from Turpin for the bright lights of Los Angeles.
“My small town life in Turpin, Oklahoma didn’t have a community that supported or encouraged the arts. I was the lonely outcast that hid out in the basement to scratch away at my acoustic guitar. Over the course of those reclusive years I wrote many songs and have taken them across the world, building bands to support the project along the way.”
Earlier this year, the hard work that Royse has put in over the last few years came to fruition with the release of his self-titled EP, a musical document inspired by his decision to make his pursuit of a career in music a reality.
Royse shares that his EP will represent a stake in the ground of sorts when it comes to the bigger picture of his career. He says that, thanks to the contributions of his band, they are collectively travelling down a different musical path.
“When we began writing the album, my band began to make creative contributions in a way that significantly changed the style and genre from blues to something I like to call ‘space rock.’ It just made sense to evolve my solo project into a band where everyone was able to pitch their ideas in complete artistic and musical freedom without being constrained to my musical style and abilities,” Royse says.
“The results have been mind-blowing to say the least. We have never had this much fun playing music.”
What: Josh Royse, special guest to Big Wreck and Matt Mays
When: Wednesday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m .
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
Tickets start at $69.99 (plus taxes and service charges). Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone at 1-866-943-8849 and online at casinonb.ca.