Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal

From The Voice to AtwoodFest
by Teri Barr
July 2018

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal

“If James Brown and Otis Redding had a love child, it would be Josh Hoyer.” This magical quote is part of a bio on the official website for Josh Hoyer and his band Soul Colossal. It puts quite a picture in your head. But, it all make sense, when you listen to the music and learn about the goal behind it, Josh just wants you to dance.

Josh is an old soul, and you can hear it in his songs. His blues-rich vocals could be compared to some of the artists his group has opened for recently, including Booker T Jones, and George Clinton. But, Josh didn’t plan on putting together a long-haul touring band when this all started a half-dozen years ago. In fact, he claims, the music was meant to be something cool to do on the weekends in Nebraska, where he is from. “It was all for fun,” Josh says. “People enjoyed the songs and the band, and it grew naturally from there. I really didn’t expect to ever be touring the country, or the world. I just wanted to find five or six music-minded cities within 1,000 miles of Lincoln, and build those areas up with repeat performances.” Yet now, an average 150 shows across 32 states, and a second tour of Europe starting at the end of this summer, is now considered a typical year for Josh and Soul Colossal. 

It was the band’s second album, “Living by the Minute,” released three years ago, that really hit all the right ears. It had radio, writers, and fans around the country, wanting more of this funky style of R & B. The release was different because it sounded like a live recording, but it wasn’t done in a venue or during a live show, yet still had the live feel of the energy between Josh and the band, which is something often lost in a recording. The lyrics also featured twisted stories of troubled relationships or themes surrounding social commentary, but with a twist. “It’s something I’ll always do now. There’s so much fluff out there,” Josh says. ”I want the music to mean something. But I still want the vibe to be engaging and uplifting.” The catchy undertone quickly meant appearances at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, a Blues Blast Music Awards nomination, and being named Artist of the Year by the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards.

Then came NBC’s The Voice.

My research for this story meant a quick dive into learning more about the significant role Josh earned as he moved forward as a contestant on the music talent show in early 2017.

Part of it simply meant, talking to my Mom about it. She’s one of the biggest fans I know of the show. “Oh, his voice,” Mom says. “Considering it’s the name of the show, I thought his voice was a lock for the win.” Wikipedia describes his time on The Voice in this manner: 

Josh earns a spot on Team Blake Shelton by singing a version of The Chi-Lites hit “Oh Girl” for his blind audition.

Josh battles several weeks later against fellow soul singer TSoul with both singing the song “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett.

Josh is eliminated when TSoul is declared the winner of the battle.

It’s as far as I read once I realized the elimination only meant bigger things for Josh, including a live album recorded at the end of a tour in Belgium, an EP put together in collaboration with some Nashville heavy-weights, one of them being Blake Shelton’s songwriter, and a full length album set to be released during a European tour later this summer, followed by a U.S. tour and release.

Sure, life has picked up speed in the last year, but it hasn’t changed much else for Josh. He still plays with the same band he describes as being full of revered and accomplished musicians from Nebraska, and he’s still based in Lincoln.

He also still believes in meeting the same goal he first set out for every single show, years ago. “All I want is the crowd dancing so much, they forget even their smallest troubles for awhile.”

Forget your troubles for awhile, when Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal comes to Prairie Dog Blues Fest on 7/27 in Prairie du Chien and AtwoodFest in Madison on on the Clyde Stubblefield Stage on 7/28.

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