Before Josh Benus assumed this musical identity, the Nashville-based indie rock artist found himself faced with a series of challenges. In 2012, an emergency surgery took a dangerous turn that left Josh in critical condition. He encountered severe complications that led to an unexpectedly arduous recovery. After some agonizing months of healing, he taught himself how to sing again. “Lucky to be alive,” the next five years twisted and turned at high speed. Josh’s health, as well as relationships, would further deteriorate before the storm finally passed.
“After my experiences, I made a pact with myself,” he admits. “I decided there was no plan B — It became clear to me how quick this could all disappear, and that there was no better time than now, to seriously pursue my art.”
After a hiatus from music, Josh commenced writing.
Serendipitously, producer Owen Biddle [The Roots, John Legend] approached him in early 2018. They then retreated to the Smoky Mountains for a week of writing and recording.
“I’ve given up counting the number of mornings that I’ve read the news and come away feeling helpless. I had no plans to write a political song, but I knew I had to do something to engage in the conversation and be a voice for those who don’t have one. This song is about those in power who divide us to maintain their privilege, and how our inaction gives voice to ‘Terrible Secrets.'” – Glass Dove on the meaning of the song.
“All of these things were about to boil over,” he admits. “The only way I could deal with them was to immortalize them in song. There was nothing more cathartic for me than being able to distill the bittersweet nature of the past five years into something uplifting.”
Illumination came to Benus on dark wings: Love shrouded by weary ennui on his debut single, “Cigarette Sunset. [feat. Liz Cooper].” Glitchy percussion bristles against the reverb of a heavenly harmony between Liz and Josh as the track climaxes on an elegant and entrancing hook steeped in intoxicating nostalgia.
Musically, the songwriting maintains an airtight sense of refinement as he siphons hauntingly hypnotic melodies from five years of tumult. A mélange of detuned guitars, vintage synths, and off-kilter beats, it sounds like starting over—but for the first time…
“It’s really about the passage of time,” he explains. “As a touring musician, the road can be disorienting. You’re very much living from moment to moment, forging new relationships in every city you visit. When you return home, it’s just as you left it—except everything else around you has changed. When Liz and I wrote the song, we liked the phonetic quality and evocative imagery of how a cigarette burns out and you flick it away. It felt like a strong metaphor for some relationships in our lives. It’s a reminder of how fleeting life is and the shelf-life of friendships. Some are built to last, and some are ephemeral.”
In the end, this debut is a first step down a longer path toward new personal and musical adventures. As a meditation on life’s shadows, as an example of rock-solid craftsmanship and freewheeling imagination, he’s bringing listeners along with him as Glass Dove.
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