With his first solo album Shoot The Moon now available to the masses, Larry and His Flask founding member Jeshua Marshall is bringing his Americana-meets-ska hybrid sound to a speaker near you. Produced by Todd Rosenberg of the Mad Caddies, the record is a twisting mixture of flavors served up in a deliciously edible cone, making this a complete sonic treat worth a front-to-back finish.
I recently sat down with the multi-instrumentalist to discuss his reflective songwriting, where you’ll find his musical heart, and why it’s like a drunken church service when Larry and His Flask venture up on stage together.
Americana Highways: Shoot The Moon is your first solo album. Did releasing this one into the world feel different than previous albums because so much falls on your shoulders, both creatively and from a promotional standpoint?
Jeshua Marshall: Most definitely, it’s been very freeing to have complete autonomy over my art. That said, I absolutely love collaborating with friends and even though it being a solo album, I had a lot of help from some absolutely incredible musicians on this album. It may be called a “solo album” but I sure as hell couldn’t have done it alone. My Brother Jamin has been a huge guiding light in helping me stay on course and encouraging and supporting me every step of the way.
AH: What would someone learn about you – both as a person and as an artist – in sitting down to listen to Shoot The Moon in its entirety?
JM: Shoot The Moon in a big way is auto-biographical. Not every single line is 100% non-fiction, but from beginning to end it tells my life story. I began writing some of these songs over a decade ago. I lay out many broken hearts, death of friends and family, my battle with addiction and social commentary on police violence and systemic racism. This album travels through the last 10 years of my life as well as further back into my consciousness explaining my experiences, loves, losses and hope.
AH: When you first set out to tackle a solo album, what did you hope to achieve, and now that Shoot The Moon has dropped, do you feel like you have accomplished those goals?
JM: I hope these songs speak to people exactly how they need them to. I hope to comfort people sonically and lyrically by putting my musical heart on my sleeve and letting people know what I’ve gone through and that they’re not alone in their struggles. With this album I wanted to lay the strong foundation to build a long-lasting connection with myself and the listener.
AH: The sound on the record is a marriage between Americana and a punk/ska vibe. Is what we hear a direct line to your various musical influences past and present?
JM: Absolutely, I think that the sound we have achieved is a marriage of direct influences from some of my favorite songwriters like Willy Tea Taylor, Possessed by Paul James, Tom Vandenavond, Soda Gardoki, Bob Marley, Johnny Cash and some of my favorite bands like The Clash, Gogol Bordello, Flogging Molly, Murder By Death, Rancid…
AH: If someone said to you, “Jeshua, describe Shoot The Moon to me in one Hollywood style elevator pitch,” what would that be?
JM: Equal parts heart, soul and grit.
AH: What are you most proud of with the album and why?
JM: I’m proud to have an album that is 100% honest to myself and what I have experienced. I’m also so honored to have an incredible list of musicians that lent their talents to make this album what it is.
AH: You are a member of the band Larry And His Flask. What do you get emotionally/spiritually out of writing and performing with a band that you can’t achieve on your own as a solo artist?
JM: Writing with Larry And His Flask is a family and a brotherhood and the live performance is like a drunken church service where we all speak in tongues.
AH: What are the perfect conditions for you to tap into your creative space? Where is Jeshua Marshall at his best with new ideas?
JM: Alone in nature with a guitar, pen and pad.
AH: Where are you hardest on yourself as an artist and why?
JM: Vocally. It took me many many years to feel confident as a singer and I continue to push myself to practice every day.
AH: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
JM: No, probably not. I enjoy the ride. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprises along the way.
For all things Jeshua Marshall and Shoot the Moon, visit www.jeshuamarshall.com.