Welcome to the ‘Josh Ramsay Show’

Thomas Tedesco, Vice President

When the singer of a notable band releases their first solo album, one of two things usually happen: they either take criticism for sounding too similar to their previous band or they alienate a significant portion of their existing fanbase by sounding too different from their previous work.

For Marianas Trench frontman Josh Ramsay, he’s been able to avoid the trappings of both scenarios.

The title and concept of his debut solo album, “The Josh Ramsay Show,” left little room for confusion that he would be taking on a new musical direction on his own terms.

“I was always gonna make a record where I played all the instruments myself eventually,” Ramsay said in an exclusive interview with The Record. “The title came from me feeling that it was so all over the place, stylistically, that it felt like a variety show.”

While the album takes several stylistic turns, Ramsay used his songwriting and production chops, as well as a sense of personality to tie the album’s 18 songs together.

“My time in quarantine, really,” Ramsay said about the inspiration behind the album’s songs and themes. “Married my wife, lost my parents, drank too much for a while. It’s a journey for sure, but even though there are some dark subjects, it’s a really positive listen.”

The album is highlighted with collaborations from several different Canadian artists and they also contribute to the varying degrees of musical influences on the album.

Chad Kroeger, from the rock band Nickelback, was featured on the album’s first single, “Lady Mine,” and country artist Dallas Smith was featured on the single, “Best of Me.”

While the former is a straight-ahead rocker that rivals anything that is currently played on “rock” radio and the latter is a country pop song, Ramsay finds a way to seamlessly fit right into all these stylings and display a synergy with his musical guests.

Ramsay said this wealth of creativity largely stemmed from being in COVID-19 lockdowns at his home in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“I didn’t want to make a Marianas Trench album without the guys, so I made different choices. Writing itself is the same, but the result was very different,” he said.

Since he is the sole songwriter in Marianas Trench and frequently writes songs for other artists, undertaking this project was not foreign to him.

“Keep in mind, I write for other people all the time, so it’s not that weird for me to sit down and write a non-MT song,” Ramsay said.

There are several more collaborations that are standouts and stick to the pop music vein including “Delirious” with Fefe Dobson and “Can’t Give It Up” with Tyler Shaw. These songs in particular have infectious hooks that can have an audience sing along upon first listen.

He said that perhaps the most rewarding collaboration is on the album’s closer “Miles and Miles” that features his sister, Sara Ramsay, and serves as a tribute to their father.

“I’m pretty sure my parents would smile down knowing that my sister sang the song to remember my dad with me,” he said.

Ramsay also holds his own with songs that do not feature outside artists, most notably on the song, “Painted Faces,” that is reminiscent of the neighboring Seattle grunge scene mixed with the likes of Nickelback and early Marianas Trench.

Ramsay is looking forward to taking his show on the road with a Canadian tour this summer and is hopeful to extend the performances to the U.S. in the near future.

“It’s gonna be fun. Surprise guests, whenever possible, you never know what you’re gonna get. I’m excited,” he said.