Singer, songwriter and pianist Josh Charles calls his style of music "Notown," a blend of Motown soul with New Orleans blues. Josh is lifting spirits with his debut album and a song dedicated to rebuilding the Crescent City.
No one could be happier than Josh Charles about the release of his first album, Love, Work and Money. Josh is just happy that he was able to make it at all. Ironically, on his first attempt to move to New Orleans in 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded the city and he was forced to evacuate.
Eventually, Josh returned to New Orleans to finish the album, and while he still plans to move there, for now, he is busy touring and playing in and around his current home in New York City.
Josh says all of his influences come together, including the "Notown" sound he nurtured as a teenager, on his new ten-song collection.
"I grew up with Motown music in my house," he explains. "My parents are from Detroit, so I grew up with that music. I love New Orleans R&B, and New Orleans piano is definitely what people know me and my style to be. But, I also like rock and roll and Stax [Memphis-based record company that specialized in soul music] and everything. So, I just made my own gumbo, and 'Love, Work and Money' is a kind of combination of my gumbo."
Included on the album is a remake of Josh's signature song, "Healing Time." According to Josh, "Healing Time" is not only a tribute to New Orleans in the aftermath of the hurricane, but it's also a tune people everywhere can relate to.
"When you write a song you just think, 'Well, I've got to write this because I'm feeling it and this is right to me," he says. "And then you put it out there for the world, and when the world hears it, it takes on a new meaning. At the time, when 'Healing Time' came out, obviously, I wrote that for the emotional state of the people who were just uprooted from their homes or lost loved ones or lost their city, and just thinking how much time healing time it would take. But, our country, our economy and personal people's love lives, everything. It does have a very universal message."
One of Josh's biggest fans and a key figure in guiding his career is legendary New Orleans music man Doctor John. Josh was only 14 when he impressed his soon-to-be mentor with his bluesy piano playing.
"I met him in New Orleans, but after I got into college and moved to New York, that's when I called him up and said, 'I want to learn from you. I want to hear what you're doing, and I want to talk to you about music.' He told me at the time he really respected that because it was a hustle," Josh says. "And, he really liked that because he did the same when he was my age. He said, 'I did the same thing with Professor Longhair and Fats Domino, and he was producing records at 14 and 15. He was there at the birth of rock and roll."
Josh is donating the proceeds from the sale of "Healing Time," and a portion of the proceeds from his album Love, Work and Money, towards the rebuilding and restoration of New Orleans through an organization called the Preservation Resource Center. For more about Josh and the recovery efforts in New Orleans visit his website at joshcharlesmusic.com.