For years, Joshua Hedley has been making a name for himself as Nashville’s right hand man. Known as the “mayor of lower Broadway” by collaborators and comrades, Hedley is a fixture at Robert’s Western World, where he plays for tips with his band the Hedliners. The multi-talented singer-songwriter has played fiddle with Justin Townes Earle, Robert Ellis and Jonny Fritz. Now Music City’s favorite son is breaking out on his own.
As part of East Nashville’s close-knit brigade of musicians, Hedley has no shortage of support from his peers. He’s featured prominently in the 2015 documentary film Heartworn Highways Revisited, a follow up to the seminal 1976 cult classic music documentary about the 1970s Nashville songwriting community led by Guy and Susanna Clark.
Heartworn Highways Revisited director Wayne Price calls Hedley the “breakout star” of the film.
“Everyone in town loves the guy and knows he’s the real deal,” Price told American Songwriter. “If he wanted to go forward with being a frontman or a solo artist, he’s going to be the guy. He’s that talented.”
Hedley’s soaring, velvet voice and jukebox-ready songs are 60s-era solid country gold. Unlike several of his peers, Hedley’s not trying to put a new spin on an old sound. Joshua Hedley’s country music is your grandfather’s country music and it’s all the better for it.
Watch Hedley perform “Broken Man,” a downhearted man’s plea for a lover’s patience and understanding, below.
In “Weird Thought Thinker,” Hedley explores life as a rambling artist meandering from “a wasteland to Graceland, wherever I roam” paying homage to “Willie, Waylon, Haggard and Jones.”
What he sounds like: Roy Orbison in a pearl snap shirt, Ray Price in a biker bar, your grandfather’s record collection.
Required listening: “Don’t Waste Your Tears,” a gorgeous, haunting, bittersweet breakup song from his upcoming EP.