The story of his beginning love for the cello is just about as un-romantic as the struggle and start of his career in Nashville, but Dent expresses a noble love in his perseverance.
“In 8th grade I got put in the same elective twice by accident, so I had to choose Orchestra and ended up with the Cello. Not a romantic story at all. I didn’t fall in love with it until two years later when I was 16.” Dent has a longstanding run with classical training and performance, including the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra’s Symphonic Orchestra.
When he got serious about the cello, he also discovered a love of racing around the corners of a melody with no view of what was next, the feeling of improvisation. He started by playing with one of his favorite video game soundtracks and taking those sounds in a different direction.
He pushes the envelope when it comes to perceptions of classical music. Inspired by mutual Folk-lover and progressive composer Antonín Dvořák, Dent thrives on improvisation throughout his performances, exposing the organic roots of music making.
“I love how raw this feeling is, of making music. One show might be like another but they are never the same. You’ll never see the same concert from me.”
He teaches Improv workshops to local Cello studios. “It’s neat to teach that kind of thing to those communities – rare in the classical world to get view points like that, break perceptions and continue the love for classical.”
Despite claims to never play a repeat show, Dent has worked hard on this new album to make it translate from the recording studio, where much of it was improvised after many months of creative composing, to the stage.
It has been said before that poetry is the food of love. In the case of Joshua Dent, it hasn’t been poetry but the notes falling from his cello that have been his own food and only sustenance in hard seasons.
Florida boy, ‘Performance’ major and ex, self-taught mechanic, Dent felt weighed down by his current lifestyle. The only movement forward he could see was leaving stability in the pan-handled state to pursue greener pastures to harvest the sound already planted in his soul. Full time jobs and daily routines tend to culminate in burnout, a common and recurring phenomenon among Americans. Where Dent differs in this cycle is in his reckless bravery to leave it all behind, refusing mediocre happiness.
“I hated my life because I had no time for music,” he said unforgivingly.
His one rule, what the majority might dub foolishness rather than unadulterated bravery, was refusing to work a day job. With nothing to hinder or dilute his time spent with his instrument, Dent flew into Nashville and headed straight from BNA to the corners of downtown.
“Some songs have ideas from before and some are improvised. I like to loop with a pedal and build on some songs – four cellos are the most I have used at one time… I’m really happy with the
However, he also noted that, “It’s been interesting trying to market myself. People have so many ideas of what a cello is supposed to do or what it’s supposed to sound like; I don’t adhere to it a lot. I don’t just sit back and play whole notes, I make myself a part of the music.”
“A nice moment for me happened in December when I played Kirabelle Frabotta’s EP release show in Detroit - Nashville singer/songwriter/string-performer he met at a Café Coco writer’s round. Her mom, on the drive back, asked me where I saw myself in five years. My humbling answer… ‘All the shit I’m doing now, just making more money.’ I want to continue playing with everyone that I have been, never getting stuck in any one kind of music. I want to be a part of it all. I love it all so much. Why would I want to be in a box?”
As for working with other songwriters and bands, Dent said he jumps on board with “whoever wants cello, or whoever I convince to want a cello…”
“I love getting to go places and getting to do what I love for people. That’s neat! I’m just going to keep throwing cello at everything.”
The release of his new album Synesthetic Moon, synesthetic meaning literally to hear a sound that causes you to visualize a color, will be available Saturday for download and streaming online. The physical release is only several weeks away.
Each track will fill you with a unique sense of going somewhere, but to get there he encourages you to follow him from the onset of the album to the last note.
“People are so stuck on having rules and how ‘things are supposed to be.’ I just want to take you somewhere.”
For him, the album is emotional and cathartic; “how I deal with the brain things.”