A gorgeous girl speeding through Nashville in a red sports car with North Carolina plates. Church folk gossiping their way past the gospel. A grandad cutting a rug alongside the co-eds in a Rte. 66 watering hole. A blue-collar Missouri town where residents still smile, look you in the eye, and ask, “How are ya?” These are just a few of the souls who populate The Midwest—the independent full-length debut from singer and songwriter John Goolsby. Steeped in Mellencamp-style storytelling with countrified heart and the right dose of rock ‘n’ roll attitude, the album’s ten songs introduce this St. Joseph, MO talent and the world he’s subsequently created.
“I’ve always been inspired by my home,” he exclaims. “I grew up in a blue-collar town where factories are shut down almost annually. I’ve watched people have to fight to survive. I love that spirit. I’m always representing where I’m from and those ideals. This album is me. You should never have to ask me where I’m from, because I’ll let you know.”
“St. Joe” has impacted Goolsby just as much as Chris Stapleton, Conway Twitty, and Johnny Cash have. Quite fittingly, he can recall finding his dad’s old AM radio in the garage at 7-years-old. Its only frequency was an oldies station—which the budding talent became quickly fixated on.
“That started my love affair with music,” he goes on. “I heard Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Van Morrison, and The Beatles on that thing. All of those classic artists made a huge impression on me.”
With dad a pastor, he cut his teeth singing in church twice a week before eventually joining local bands in high school and college. Dropping out in his junior year, he wholeheartedly devoted himself to music. After a few years of grinding on the scene, the young troubadour linked up with producer and songwriter Andy Davis and commenced work on what would become The Midwest, taking frequent trips to Nashville in order to write and record. Along the way, Goolsby honed a signature style.
“It’s country soul,” asserts the artist. “It’s equal parts Otis and Van Morrison. We wanted it to have an old vibe with current production. I think the record reflects that.”
Scraping together enough cash to independently record, mix, master, and release the album, he completed The Midwest. Its first single “Speaking of Charlotte” paints a picture of heartland wanderlust in the form of a pretty young lady stealing away across America’s highways as a soundtrack of acoustic guitars and pedal steel resounds in tandem with his dynamic delivery.
“The name Charlotte was meant to represent a girl and the city,” he explains. “We amped up some of the energy, and it really paints a picture.”
Elsewhere on the record, “Time To Make a Move” captures a restless Midwestern spirit via bluesy guitar twang and vivid carpe diem lyricism, “Hey John boy, it’s about time you lived your life.” “Texas Found Me” sends a love letter to the Lone Star State, while “Even When The Good” offers up a solemn and stark goodbye to an old flame.
As listeners began to quietly embrace The Midwest, this electric performer shared the stage with everyone from Will Hoge and Pat Green to Tyler Farr and Randy Rogers Band. It’s only the beginning though.
In the end, Goolsby’s own story will resonate far beyond his hometown.
“When people hear my music for the first time, I’d love for them to feel like they might’ve heard a song somewhere, but not quite be able to place where or when,” he leaves off. “To me, that’s the ultimate goal. I want them to think, ‘Those songs are about my town!’”
Steeped in Mellencamp-style storytelling with countrified heart and the right dose of rock ‘n’ roll attitude, St. Joseph, MO singer and songwriter John Goolsby introduces his “country soul” sound on the independent full-length debut The Midwest. Influenced by Chris Stapleton, Conway Twitty, and Johnny Cash, he taps into the spirit of classic country and Americana with a modern spin. As listeners began to quietly embrace The Midwest, Goolsby went on to share the stage with everyone from Will Hoge and Pat Green to Tyler Farr and Randy Rogers Band. Alongside producer Andy Davis, he’s crafted a record that might just make you feel at home.