Texas traditionalist Josh Ward on his surprising success and eagerness to return to the studio
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"Broken Heart," Josh Ward Band
By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
These days, it's fairly rare for one album to produce more than three or four radio singles, especially in the country world. Josh Ward's Holding Me Together is quite an exception, though.
Ward's 2015 album has produced six singles, with five of them hitting No. 1 on the Texas Regional Radio Chart and a sixth, "You Don't Have to Be Lonely," holding steady this week at No. 20 after eight weeks on the chart.
Now, Ward — who'll return to town for a 10 p.m. Thursday show at Hoots Pub, 2424 Hobbs Road; cover is $10 — is heading back to the studio in the next week to record a much-anticipated follow-up.
"I'm excited to get back in there," Ward said in a Monday phone interview. "Every song on this record has been hand-picked by me. That way I know what's on the record, and I want to make dang sure the fans get what they want."
Good call: Those fans, after all, have helped Ward to have eight consecutive No. 1 singles on the Texas charts, including five (so far) from Holding Me Together.
"We've been riding that record pretty hard," Ward said of his 2015 album. "It seems like just the other day we put it out, but I guess time flies."
But Ward isn't surprised that the album spawned so many singles.
"Is there a correct way to release songs off a record? Is there a number of songs you have to release? I don't think so," he said. "If fans love it, if radio likes what you've got, then put them out there. ... If you've got a handful of them and you believe in them and your crew does and your fans do, then give it to them."
Will the new album, which is due out in early 2018, do the same?
"I don't want to jinx myself just yet," Ward said. "I've been kind of hush-hush about this record. I can tell you I've got some really great songs on there, but you never know which one is going to turn into a big hit."
Ward began playing in 2003 in parking lots on the rodeo circuit as a high school rider. Nearly 15 years later, he says he's happy to see "the hard work has really paid off for me" and that fans are catching on to his take on old-school country.
"People are really starting to dig that (traditional) country again," Ward said. "I can count a handful of people out there doing it. Thank God for Cody Johnson, for Aaron Watson, for people kicking that mule down the road. The fans digging on their stuff are digging ours. We're finally getting our foothold."