Topping the Texas country music charts is no easy feat. But Josh Ward — an independent country singer-songwriter out of Montgomery, Texas — took it up a notch, hitting the No. 1 spot with six different songs, all from the same album.
While most musicians probably limit their singles and prefer to focus on the next album, Ward said the success of those singles speaks for itself.
“It was a fun record to run,” he said. “I think we gained a whole new audience with that record right there. I believe if a song is a good song, put it out there.”
Ward plays today in Laramie, where he’ll sample some of those singles and some of his older music, as well as preview songs from a future album he plans to release spring 2018.
“We’ve got a lot of new stuff that we’re going to be doing,” Ward said. “We’re going to be playing old stuff off the ‘Holding Me Together’ record, some older stuff off the ‘Promises’ record. We’re just making a show out of it, man.”
Though far from home in Wyoming, Ward said he fits right in whenever he tours the Cowboy State.
“It’s a different brand of people, you know,” he said. “You got hard-working folks that live off the land — farmers, ranchers — it’s just a hard-working state. I love it, to be honest. I wish I could spend more time than what we are right now. But hopefully, we come up there and make a showing in Laramie (and) the rest of the state might want to see it.”
Wyoming is also home to one of Ward’s most influential idols.
“It’s the home of Chris LeDoux,” Ward said. “I stayed up many a night, caffeine, Copenhagen and Chris LeDoux on the cassette tape, running up and down the rodeo trails. I mean, Chris LeDoux was my best friend. I thought so — I never got to meet him, but he sure did keep me company.”
Ward wasn’t always the chart-topper he is today. Riding bareback horses in high school and for some time after, Ward would play for his rodeo friends.
“My first audience was a bunch of buddies,” he said. “They said, ‘Man, you oughta try this.’ Years later — of playing around the bars and honky-tonks — here we are.”
Ward has watched the country music scene change around him, as audiences started to prefer edgier or poppier versions of the genre. He said it’s nice to watch the pendulum swing back to favor his own take on country — a take some have called ‘traditional,’ some have called ‘new,’ but which Ward just calls ‘country.’
“I’ve been doing this for a while,” he said. “I’ve just been doing the same old thing. Everybody else is calling it ‘new.’”
That said, Ward added he has no problem with other musicians doing their own thing because he knows where their drive comes from.
“In the the beginning, everybody just has this one dream,” he said. “That’s to get their guitar, get on stage and have an audience to play their songs to. So, not knocking what everybody else is doing. I just figured I’d stick with the same thing I have been doing all these years and stay true to my roots and maybe one of these days, it will be cool.”
The music runs from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. today at the Cowboy Dance Hall & Saloon, 108 Second St. Admission is $10 at the door. Go to www.joshwardmusic.com for more information.