Posted | February 02 2014

Josh Straley is filling the air with solo symphonies

I’ve seen Josh Straley play at various points over the last few years.  I remember early on, in the youngest days of our monthly Bring Your Song meetings, when he first started performing in front of people. He was visibly shy, stumbling a bit to explain the songs he played. But then his nimble fingers started to come alive.  Down the length of his guitar neck, they moved like some methodical, swift carpenter.  He’d fumble a bit with the strings from time to time in a moment of shy panic, but would quickly find his way again.

Josh Straley live in Canton Ohio

Straley has been playing since age 14; and though most up-and-comers set out to be the next Eric Clapton (or whoever the equivalent is nowadays), Straley took the indirect route, finding inspiration in world-renowned classical guitarists like Franco Morone, Kirk Hammet and many others.

Throughout his years of study and practice, music was more of a hidden thing.  He spent his days working in real estate and loans.  He fell in love.  He got married.  He adopted a disabled weimaraner.  All the while, behind closed doors, he apprenticed classical recordings, and slowly, like any good carpenter, he learned the intricacies of his trade.  Straley’s nuanced translations betray a perfectionist’s attention to details.  You can detect the hours upon hours the guitarist must have sat, listening and inspecting every single note of arrangements that sound otherworldly.

Nowadays, you can find him at the Main Street Grille in North Canton a few times a month, where he is the house guitarist.  He is much more confident and relaxed behind his guitar.  His movements, his interactions with his instrument seem effortless.  In his performances, you can hear, amid those mysterious notes, an undying love of an undying art form.  There he sits behind his guitar, his adept hands filling the air with solo symphonies.

—Written by Josh Compton


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