We balance on the brink of a COVID-19-disrupted world that hopefully is returning to some mindful but more normal opportunities for live music. Lincoln’s Josh Hoyer is among those impacted. His career was on a serious upswing before coronavirus infection rates and closures ground life as most of us know it to a halt.

“I will never take any chance to play for granted again. Any time I get to play music is the best time,” Hoyer said in an email interview.

Natural Born Hustler on Color Red Music was released March 26. The recording sat on the shelf for more than a year. The project was recorded in 2019 in two sessions at producer, musician and Color Red founder Eddie Roberts’ Denver studios. Roberts is the guitarist for acclaimed U.K. funk and soul band The New Mastersounds.

“It’s funny,” Hoyer continued, “We kind of rushed to get things done … before what was supposed to be the highest profile touring we have done up till that point [in 2020].”

Those tours were, of course, cancelled, and Hoyer said there are elements he may have taken more time with if he’d known the release would be delayed. “But, as it is, I am very happy with the recording and feel it is very honest and genuine,” he said. “Sometimes songs and albums have a shelf-life; luckily this one has many of those ‘timeless’ songs that didn’t suffer after the lack of an immediate release.”

Hoyer said the album will hopefully be a favorite of classic soul and R&B fans and pointed to Color Red’s description of the album as “a collection of timeless songs slated to last through the decades … Hoyer and his musical cohorts make music for grown folks with their authentic, real, and honest songwriting … not confined by age, upbringing, religion, creed, or differences — they are meant for anyone who seeks the medicine of music.”

“I think we often wish life would just slow down. I know I do,” Hoyer said reflecting on 2020. “So, I really enjoyed that aspect of the last year and have savored the downtime with my family. My kids and wife and I have never been closer and that is really special to me.

Hoyer said creativity helped him stay positive during “an extremely crazy and sad time for our country and our world.”

“Having that outlet for the wide range of emotions was instrumental in me keeping my mind together and maintaining hope for the future,” he said. “I have written around 30 songs since last year and have had some beautiful experiences writing commissioned songs for friends and fans. It has kept me connected and grounded in the art form.”

“I will never take my musical life for granted ever again,” Hoyer repeated. “In the past, I would allow the frustrations of the business or my desire for better opportunities get the best of me. But I know now just how lucky I am to be able to do what I love for a living. I miss my band, the magic of live performances and all the wonderful people and places we get the opportunity to experience. It can be tough, but, man, is it rewarding.” 

Asked about what’s next for Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, Hoyer said, “It’s been extremely difficult to plan on anything, but I have hope and it looks like some really great gigs are around the corner, including House of Blues at Jazz Fest in New Orleans, our third Spanish tour, a three-week Color Red Revue in the fall with DJ Williams’ Shots Fired and The Polyrhythmics, and a Japanese tour in 2022. We just started rehearsing last week and the band is smoking!”

The official record release show is Friday, April 16, at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar with an early and late show. The Jewell will host the Omaha CD release Friday, April 30, also with two show times. Find out more about the new recording, Natural Born Hustler, at color-red.com and at joshhoyer.com.

Hot Notes

Playing With Fire has 2021 dates in place for both the Playing With Fire series at the Capitol District and for a new set of shows. Music for the City concerts will happen at the River City Star’s Dam Bar at Miller’s Landing. Look for the final show and artist announcements at playingwithfireomaha.net.

The Blues Society of Omaha’s Thursday 6-9 p.m. series continues at Stocks ‘n’ Bonds. Thursday, April 1, catch the guitar power of Tim Budig Band featuring Shawn Holt, the late Magic Slim’s son. Thursday, April 8, the storytelling songs and big voice of Randy McAllister take center stage. Kansas City’s Kurt Allen Band plugs in Thursday, April 22. Orphan Jon & The Abandoned return Thursday, April 29. Stay up to date on the schedule at facebook.com/bluessocietyofomaha/events.

Lincoln’s Zoo Bar is adding shows to its calendar. Look for updates at facebook.com/zoobarblues and zoobar.com. Several other venues around Omaha have been bringing live music back. A few highlights from those schedules include the rockabilly of the Red Elvises at The B. Bar Friday, April 9, 5:30-8:30 p.m., see facebook.com/theb.baromaha, and the blues of Minnesota’s Joyann Parker at The Jewell Saturday, April 17, 6:30 and 9 p.m., see jewellomaha.com. The Omaha Lounge has relocated to 666 N. 114th St. and is also presenting live music. Find out more at theomahalounge.com.

A big roots-blues show hits the stage at The Orpheum Friday, April 16, 7:30 p.m., when the Allman Betts Band performs. See ticketomaha.com.

Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal
Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal hope the band’s momentum from before the pandemic will propel them forward in 2021 as they release a new CD and look to resume touring in the fall. Photo by James Dean.

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