Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been bringing you occasional ‘mini-gigs’ as a way of continuing to connect talented musicians with audiences of music lovers. This time we have two gorgeous songs from Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Joshua Hyslop to share with you exclusively. We’ve enjoyed many of these live recordings, which are often spare, acoustic sets with the songs stripped back to their heart. That’s the case here, with Hyslop’s fine song-writing demonstrated with just his calm, understated vocal and his guitar. The two songs he performs are gorgeously tuneful pieces with equally engaging and heartfelt lyrics.
Firstly, Hyslop performs ‘No Stopping Now’, an uplifting number characterised by faster finger-picking and his encouraging, positive words: “Heart, it takes heart // To believe in yourself from the start…Lies, all your lies // Are an excuse to live half of your life // And hate, no more hate // For all it gives there’s so much more it takes…How long till you open your eyes // And see all that you hold inside? // How long till you shrug off that doubt? // There’ll be no more stopping you now.” This is followed by ‘Westward’, a hopeful song about making changes, finding yourself and seeking peace, which winds its way through a really beautiful melody. Again, Hyslop’s lyrics are direct, sensitive and thoughtful: “Well, in my heart there’s two roads that diverge now // And I’m sorry I can only travel one // But living’s only living once you’ve chosen // To stop wasting time wondering what you might have done.”
Joshua Hyslop has been steadily building a great fan-base and he has now surpassed 300,000,000 streams worldwide – a figure that most artists can only dream of. His brand new album, ‘Westward’, has just been released. It’s his fifth full-length record and well-worth checking out, as I did immediately after the pleasure of watching this ‘mini-gig’. Of the new album, he says: “The idea is about not stopping, always keeping one foot in front of the other. This album is about relentless hope. I’m not willing to become hopeless.” While his songs are soothing and peaceful, Hyslop has faced many challenges from living in a van to losing all his belongings when his illegally-rented apartment flooded and nearly dying while touring through India. When he signed a record deal with Nettwerk, his circumstances were such that: “I didn’t even have a guitar. I was borrowing one from my friend,” he explains. Having lived with depression and anxiety, Hyslop describes simply what music and the creative process means to him: “Holding a guitar, it’s my comfort blanket. Song-writing for me is a really healthy way of conversing with my subconscious.” His soothing, uplifting songs offer the same kind of consoling solace and support to those who take to the time to listen. Enjoy.