With the release of his highly anticipated debut album Mr. Jukebox via Third Man Records, Joshua Hedley will embrace the role he was born to play: this generation’s classic country champion.
An accomplished fiddle player, Hedley felt inexplicably drawn toward the instrument as a child. He got his hands on his own fiddle at age 8, and by 12, he was playing with middle-aged pickers at the VFW. At 19, he moved from his native Florida to Nashville, where he became an in-demand sideman at Robert’s Western World and other bars, and ultimately, a well-respected frontman. Armed with an easy croon and prodigious fiddle playing, he became known as the Mayor of Lower Broad. He hit the road to perform with artists including Jonny Fritz, Justin Townes Earle, and more, while the 2015 documentary Heartworn Highways Revisited featured Hedley prominently.
Hedley didn’t start writing his own songs until he was about 28 years-old. So on the backend of his 20s, he finally started writing, eventually unlocking a flood of clarity and creativity. The heartbreaking, distilled, defiantly classic country that poured out of him became Mr. Jukebox, a salve and beacon for 60s honky-tonk devotees everywhere.
When asked what he hopes listeners get out of Mr. Jukebox, Hedley doesn’t hesitate. “I just want people to remember they have feelings, and that they’re valid,” he says. “Not everything is Coors Light and tailgates. There are other aspects of life that aren’t so great that people experience. They’re part of life, part of what shapes people. And that’s worth noting.”