Josh Pyke’s seventh album is a personal journey reflecting the ups and downs of everyday life that he and his family experienced during COVID lockdown.
From home-schooling his kids to coping with his mum’s five-year battle with severe Alzheimer’s disease, the five-time ARIA award winner expresses his deepest feelings through song.
But his music isn’t sad or depressing; it’s uplifting and inspiring, as he rejoices in those fleeting moments of happiness that can be found on even the toughest days.
“For me, the reason I write music is to process stuff that’s happening in my own life and I think the people that like my music can resonate with that,” he says.
“My songwriting is always super personal and authentic. It comes from my own experience of the world.
“The world has been a lot heavier in the last few years and there have been more emotionally-charged things to write about.
“I’ve always found that, by writing songs, I can process negative things and turn them into some kind of positive, creative project.”
With live music on hold, Josh says he “needed to stay creative and productive during the COVID years”.
“Touring and playing shows has been such a massive part of my life for over 20 years and it’s part of my creative process,” he says.
“During lockdown I needed a creative outlet, some way of getting all those feelings and urges out that were bubbling up inside me.
“I wasn’t expecting to write another album.”
Canberrans will have an opportunity to experience Josh’s pandemic project, To Find Happiness, as well as some of his older music when he plays solo with just his loop pedal and drum box at the National Folk Festival on 16 April, ahead of his national tour which kicks off in June.
This will be Josh’s debut performance at the Festival and he says he’s looking forward to a “really fun” weekend and having some much-needed time away with his family.
“Festivals are so much fun and I think it’s important to play stuff from the full gamut of my music – the older stuff as well as songs from the new album,” he says.
“People always love to hear Middle of the Hill, which started it all off in 2005.”
Josh is excited to catch up with his mates Katie Noonan and Justine Clarke on the festival stage and watch some of his favourite artists, including Jack Carty and All Our Exes Live In Texas.
“Justine and I have written a bunch of songs together, so we’ll be playing a couple of songs and reading from A Banana is A Banana, the children’s book we wrote.
“I’m taking my kids and it will be a great family event; I’m looking forward to it.”
Through acclaimed albums, renowned live shows both at home and across the world, award-nominated children’s books and philanthropic work, Josh has become one of Australia’s most beloved and respected storytellers since breaking out with his classic platinum-certified debut LP Memories and Dust in 2007.
He has made a name for himself as a children’s book author, releasing the award-nominated Lights Out, Leonard and the recent National Simultaneous Storytime 2022 Selection book Family Tree.
Josh also wrote the music for ABC children’s program Mikki vs the World and the theme song for the new ABC crime drama Troppo.
His philanthropic work has included the Josh Pyke Partnership, which supports and fosters unsigned musicians and his Busking For Change concert initiative to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, for which he is an ambassador.
The 2022 National Folk Festival will be held at Exhibition Park in Canberra over the Easter long weekend (from 14 to 18 April).