Drew Joseph’s own style of original folksy rock returns to the Black Swamp Arts Festival community stage on Saturday at 1:15 p.m.
He said that his music is reminiscent of artists of the 1970s like Neil Young and Harry Nilsson and some outlaw country musicians like early Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.
“I’m kind of a simple guy and I like music with roots, something that resonates from beyond the moment and stays for more than five minutes. Something you might hear once and be able to sing along.”
Joseph said he will be singing his most popular single “Things Are Different Now” from his album “No New Wilderness,” plus other songs he has penned.
“WBGU radio has featured my single ‘Shake It Off’ lately, so people in Bowling Green may be familiar with it,” he said.
He also is working on new material for his Black Swamp Arts Festival appearance.
Joseph said that hi inspiration for his music comes from his own experiences.
He said “Shake It Off’ is not only a reflection on losing a relationship but also about adjusting to change in the broader world of music.
Once rock ‘n’ roll became mainstream in the ‘70s it began to lose its bite, Joseph said.
“That is why the song contains a homage to an original rock and roller in the line ‘When the Catholic Church stopped fighting rock and roll is when Neil Young stopped writing hits,’” he said.
Currently a Toledo resident, he is originally from New Bremen. His music career started at Grace College with his acoustic group Wax Eyes. He has traveled to several places around the country, including Cincinnati, Los Angeles and Alaska and each area inspired some of tunes he likes the best.
Joseph said a 2016 visit to Alaska to work in a salmon cannery and traveling around the state inspired the song he never gets tired of playing — the single “No New Wilderness” from his album of the same title. He said the upbeat melody, with some melancholy lyrics, captured his feelings of irony in the perception that society had the attitude that everything had been figured out and there was nothing new to learn.
His experiences while in Cincinnati inspired the tune “Bombshell,” when black man Sam Dubose was fatally shot by a police officer.
“That shooting had an affect on me and I found myself trying to tease out in my lyrics the complexities of that situation, since it looks like the man was shot for no real reason, yet the officer was exonerated,” he said.
Joseph said his trip driving down the California coast to Los Angeles inspired him to finish the song “Go With You.”
“I started out feeling uncertain about life but once I finished my travels, it all made sense. The uncertainty was still there, but I also knew I could move on, finishing writing the songs for my album,” he said.
His music can be found on Sound Cloud and Youtube and he will have CDs and T-shirts for sale at the festival.