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It’s a path that seemed destined from the start. Born into a musical family, Baltimore-based rockabilly artist, Josh Christina inherited his musical chops from his father (a drummer), his mother (Baltimore-area singer Patti Christina), and his grandmother, who was a big band singer in the ’40’s and ’50’s. He’s spent the last 15 years honing his sound – a combination of the country, classic rock, big band and rockabilly he was raised on. And while most artists find the pressures of today’s music scene to look and sound a certain way daunting, Christina continues to find success in both Baltimore and Nashville by doing what he does best – being himself.
Christina’s personal journey began at age six, when he took an interest in the King himself – Elvis Presley. “Hearing Elvis for the first time, I remember thinking his sound was so unique and raw. I watched DVD’s of his performances – my favorite was his 1954 performance of That’s All Right. His sound was so clean, yet so edgy. As I developed as an artist, I found myself gravitating toward that same sound.”
By eight, Christina had organized a Junior Blues Brothers act that performed regularly at venues in the Baltimore area. At 15, he began playing piano after taking a trip to New York City with his parents to see Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway. “While I bought tickets out of my love for Elvis, I remember being blown away by the styling’s of Jerry Lee Lewis… He had such flare. He redefined the piano for me. I had taken lessons as a kid, playing mostly classical, which bored me. When the actor playing Jerry Lee kicked out the stool, jumped on the piano, played with his feet… I was sold. I gave piano a second chance and, with that, adopted Jerry Lee’s entertainment style.”
With his newfound passion for piano, Christina began writing, drawing inspiration from the “simple, yet clever, corny rhymes” of writers Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Stevie Ray Vaughn. After graduating from Dulaney High School in 2013, the Cockeysville native went to work on his debut album, produced by John Grant at Secret Sound Studio. Man From Another Time featured several rock and roll and rockabilly covers, along with a few original songs written by Christina.
Just one year later, his talents caught the attention of Nashville-based producer Kent Wells (Dolly Parton), who immediately got to work with Christina on his sophomore effort, Good Old Love – which released in March 2015. “Making your debut in the Nashville scene – a scene currently dominated by pop country – is tough. I couldn’t have landed in better hands. From the start, Kent insisted on embracing my vintage rockabilly sound. From recording all the instruments at once, to adding upright bass and horns… I’m so proud of how this album turned out. This album is me.” The first single on the album, “Cry You a River”, made its debut at country radio in April.
And on the subject of Nashville’s pop country dominance, Christina isn’t worried.
“I think the country genre is beginning to shift back to its roots. Meghan Trainor has done it with the pop genre, taking it back to its roots with her sound’s doo-wop influence. Bruno Mars has done the same in R&B with notes of funk in his sound. Slowly but surely, artists in the country genre are putting their foot down and adding notes of classic country and rock to their sound. If anything, I feel I’m at a bit of an advantage. My sound isn’t headed that direction. It’s already there.”