Meet Joshua Reilly and Hear Him at Ella’s Singer/Songwriter Night this Wednesday.
Dunedin-based musician Joshua Reilly may have grown up in the Midwest — hence his backing band, the Corn-fed locals — but he has embraced Florida. And Florida has embraced him. His songs, like “Gibsonton,” are a beautiful ode to the under-appreciated quirks the state has to offer. He joins Jeff Brawer and Geri X at Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe in Seminole Heights on Wed., Feb. 7, for Singer/Songwriter night hosted by Band of Sorrows’ Jack Sprouse. Creative Pinellas Journal chatted with him recently about his inspirations, his favorite Pinellas haunts and his take on Florida being listed as the worst state in the union. (Suck it, Thrillist.)
How long have you been playing music for?
I have been playing guitar for 24 years. I began writing songs shortly after beginning to learn guitar but stopped writing for over a decade until 2016.
What inspired you to start? What inspires you to keep going?
I began playing because a few of my close friends had guitars and we enjoyed playing together. I was raised listening to songwriters such as John Prine and Harry Nilsson. I continue to play and write because I am making strides in songwriting, and take pride in the work I am doing. New York Times bestselling author and cultural icon Tom Robbins was recently quoted on my work: “Vocally and instrumentally, Joshua Reilly has a delivery like the last train out of Real Town before the android invasion. Clear the tracks!”
What is your favorite venue in the Bay Area?
The list of venues that I have been privileged to perform at in the Bay Area is consistently growing. The Hideaway Cafe in St. Pete immediately comes to mind as a favorite so far. Great sound and undivided attention are key components to a great environment to share my writing.
What do you think about Thrillist website recently saying Florida was the worst of all the states?
I don’t take too much stock in articles like that. My property value continues to increase, I haven’t driven in ice and snow for over a decade, and the music scene has welcomed me with open arms ever since I started writing original music.
What is your “day job”?
My “day job” is working in the tasting room at Crooked Thumb Brewery in Safety Harbor. Owner, Kip Kelly is a fellow songwriter and longtime friend. My co-workers are amazing and include Bay Area rocker, Scott Anderson of Have Gun, Will Travel.
Do you have a favorite underrated spot in Pinellas?
My favorite “underrated” spots in Pinellas County would have to be the Ozona Pig, a family BBQ joint, and the ONLY place that you will find me doing a THREE-hour show. They have been having me perform there once a month for a good number of years now. Hands down the best wings in Pinellas County!
Do you have a regular gig anywhere?
My regular gig is Tuesdays at Crooked Thumb Brewery. I have been hosting a weekly songwriter night there since January of 2016. I have an alternating format between featured songwriter nights and themed songwriting nights.
Singer/Songwriter’s Night at Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe, 5119 N. Nebraska Ave.; Wed. Feb. 7, 8 p.m.; Free; visit joshuareilly.com.