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'This might be a wake-up call': Floyd County musician's next chapter impacted by virus

(WYMT)
Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 7:53 PM EDT
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Josh Martin moved to Nashville seven years ago to pursue his music career. The Floyd County native said it has been an interesting ride with a lot of ups and downs, but this month has been one to remember.

After a tornado tore through his new city earlier this month, he said things were already tense.

Though he was about 30 miles away and his home was not hurt by the storm, he said he has seen its impact in the music community.

"I had close acquaintances that had lost everything, pretty much," Martin said. "I had a drummer that lost all of his recording equipment. all of his files from all of the recording sessions that he's done, all of his drum kits, and his house. So, it's just humbling to know that you narrowly escaped that."

But the punches did not stop there as the coronavirus continues to spread across the nation. Tennessee is reporting more than 150 cases.

"Everybody said, 'Well, we don't have stock market accounts. We're musicians. You know, it's not gonna impact us.' But it really did in a big way," Martin said.

So, Martin came back to the mountains to quarantine himself with his family. He said the impacts of the combined issues have taken a toll on many in the industry.

"A lot of us are still working paycheck to paycheck, gig to gig," he said.

Between canceled performances and lost time it is an economic hit, but it's not just about money. The art is also being impacted.

"Anything that happens in life kind of effects the music you're making," Martin said. "I'm starting a whole new chapter in my artistry. Seems like all the songs that I've started since all this stuff has started happening, it does have a more real-life aspect to it."

Being isolated has made that new chapter more of a challenge because working alone does not offer the same creative environment for creating art. But Martin said the new music, whenever it is finished, is something he is looking forward to sharing with the world.

"This is kind of the first project that I've kind of taken creative liberty about and said, 'You know what? Let's just make a record that I love and that the songwriting is reflecting what I'm feeling,'" Martin said.

He said five of the songs are already in the works all different than anything he has done.

"It just took a refreshing turn. It feels like the music that was made late-70s, early-80s, with modern ideas and modern sound," Martin said. "You could get in the car and just drive and listen to it all day."

Though it is putting a damper on the process, he said the virus is causing everyone to slow down, which could be a small silver lining in an otherwise unsure storm.

"Our world is operating at a break-neck speed all day, every day," he said. "This might be a wake-up call, in a sense that you know, you do need to slow down every now and then and smell the roses. Because it's too sweet to let slip by."

But he added, supporting local musicians during the "slow down" is more important than ever since they are not performing in public.

"The entertainment industry as a whole is going to take a huge hit," he said. "The way that you can support them right now is buying their merch on their websites and just continuing to digest this entertainment."

Martin's most recent album, Nothing Holding Me, is available for streaming. You can follow his work on

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and his