We had the good fortune of connecting with Josh Moore and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Josh, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I pursued an artistic career because I have always had an enormous passion for playing guitar, and more generally for creating art. I love the freedom of expression that music provides. It is an art form that isn’t bound by language, and therefore offers endless possibilities of expression. I feel that written language can often be limiting, and certain words (especially the most abstract and loaded words that we have like “love”, “fear”, or “happiness”) can be so subjective that their meaning can often be misconstrued.
A career in music allows me to express myself, and more specifically to “explain” myself to my audience in a way that I find to be more personal and honest than words. For example if I am able to portray “happiness” with my music, and truly cause the audience to experience happiness while they are listening, then I have done my job! The primal and intuitive connection that results between musician and listener is what drives me to continue progressing. The best musicians are those who can use their music to truly communicate, to make the listener FEEL something! At the end of the day, all that most of us want in this life is to connect with and be understood by our fellow humans. Music offers a unique way to make this connection.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think that what makes me a unique performer is the variety of musical experiences that I have had and can share with my audience. I have a doctorate in classical guitar, but during all of my schooling I was working equally hard on practicing jazz, and throughout all of this, I have maintained my rock and pop music guitar roots. In addition to studying, I have performed extensively in all of these genres. I am proud of the fact that I would be equally comfortable playing classical guitar in a recital hall, playing jazz in a jazz club, jumping on stage with a phish cover band, or playing classical guitar arrangements of Tom petty at a wedding. I don’t think that there are a lot of guitarists who can say this.
The decision to pursue music was certainly easy in that I really am just getting to do something that I truly love, as well as share that thing with others. The actual act of trying to make a career out of music, on the other hand, has certainly been difficult at times. Earning my doctorate was a large milestone, as it was a massive amount of work, and at times it tested my relationship with music. In a musical doctorate, You typically end up spending far more time reading and writing about your instrument than you actually spend playing it. On top of this, nearly all of the actual time spent playing your instrument is spent preparing music for classes, recitals, and lessons which begins to add stress and pressure to all of your playing. With this imbalance, I began to lose touch with why I began pursuing music in the first place. What ended up bringing me back was the guitar itself. Allowing some free time each day to just have fun on the guitar brought back all of the feelings that I felt at 13 while learning Led Zeppelin songs in my parent’s basement.
One of the major takeaways from my musical journey so far has been to pursue only what you love to do at all costs, as cliche as it sounds. Life is such a fragile and unpredictable thing that I think that it is absolutely essential for me to be doing something that I truly enjoy, and truly care about. For me, a truly fulfilled and successful life is one that is spent following whatever it is that brings you joy. I would love for people to view my “brand” as being someone who is wholly dedicated to the pursuit of their art, and wholly dedicated to the communication of that art in a way that spreads joy to their listeners.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am very new to Flagstaff, so I am still getting the lay of the land myself, but I think that I could come up with a few fun activities. All of my favorite non guitar activities are outdoor activities, and I am just generally a major outdoor enthusiast. I think that the first thing that we would do would be to take a trip to the Grand Canyon and go for a trail run (I would say that my second biggest passion after guitar is trail running, and specifically running ultramarathons). I have run tons of races over the years, and recently ran the Rim to Rim to Rim route in the Grand Canyon. Next we would explore the San Francisco Peaks area just north of Flagstaff where we would again, go for a trail run! The next day we would mix it up and drive down to Sedona to hike the hangover trail, and to go skate at the Sedona skatepark. (I am also very into skateboarding) Throughout this entire week, we would be eating at my favorite Indian Restaurant Delhi Palace. Next we would link up with some of my favorite musicians that I have met in Flagstaff and we would have numerous long jam sessions. Lastly I would introduce them to my dog (possibly the coolest dog in the world) Chewy.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I couldn’t narrow it down to just one person or thing, so here are a few!
First off, my partner Emily has been unbelievably supportive over the years, and has consequently followed me around the country while I finished my music degrees, and have looked for musical work. Luckily, like me she isn’t overly money motivated as the stereotype of the starving artist is somewhat true.
I would also have to give a huge shoutout to my parents for supporting my musical endeavors over the years. They have always been supportive whether they understood my decision to go into a career in music or not. None of it would have been possible without them buying me my first guitar or paying for all of my lessons as a kid.