One of the key features to look out for when you are buying a house is a functional shed in the backyard.
But while your average homeowner might use a backyard shed to store the lawnmower and snow blower or set up a tool bench, Josh King took a different path with the shed that came with his new home in Greensboro, NC. The Mobile, Alabama native chose to transform this space into a makeshift recording studio, where the new dad put together his upcoming LP, appropriately titled The Shed. American Songwriter is proud to premiere the album’s first single “Man on TV” today on the site. According to the singer, the song was born out of this sort of backyard social network he formed with fellow musicians with similar constructs.
“This was the first song that I recorded in my shed,” King explains. I first tracked the acoustic, bass, keys, and vocals. Then I tried to create a fake drum kit using a tambourine and a box for the kick drum. After finding that my long time friend and band mate, Jack Foster, had created the same kind of makeshift studio in his basement in Nashville, I sent him the tracks that I had and he put actual drums to the song and sent it back. After realizing that I wasn’t the only musician sitting around the house itching to spend some creative energy, I reached out to another long time friend and band mate, Joel Kiser, and asked him to add some lead guitar. I then reached out to several of my favorite singers all of whom I have the pleasure of calling friends and asked them to remotely record their vocal on the last two choruses in three part harmony but as a gang vocal. I mixed it and that was that! The beginning of The Shed recordings was born.”
As for the song itself, King asserts how its context directly stems from his concerns over the pandemic.
“I wished to express the fears and anxieties that I was having during the pandemic at that particular time,” he tells American Songwriter about the song, which sounds like it could have been an outtake from the new Tom Petty Wildflowers box. “I wrote ‘Man On TV’ in mid-March when the pandemic still felt new and the information we had about COVID-19 was all very confusing. It was the first time that I noticed everyone on social media going after each other and just started to feel a sense of panic. I just knew it was inevitable that we would experience chaos or some kind of doom in the near future.”
Yet despite such anxieties, King hopes listeners will hear the song’s communal energy–augmented by his aforementioned former House of Fools bandmates Jack Foster and Joel Kiser as well as background harmonies from more than a half-dozen friends–despite the remote nature by which it was cut.
“I’m hoping that people will relate to words but also feel a sense of light heartedness,” he says. “Ultimately, I’ve truly always thought that in the end we would all be OK. It would be a lie though if I told you I didn’t have my moments. But I like the dark content paired with a happy melody that seems just right for singing along while getting drunk.”