KEARNEY — When Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal performs, the music comes from a specific place.
“We play soul, funk and R&B — kind of the ‘old school’ R&B,” he said. “Everything comes directly from our heart. We try to be very honest with the music and really connect with the song and connect with the audience. We try to make it as real as it gets. In my opinion, that’s what makes it good.”
The Lincoln-based funk quintet performs mostly original music.
“It’s all based in the blues,” he said. “Sometimes when you hear ‘blues,’ you think it’s going to be shuffles or hill country blues or Texas blues where you feature the loud guitar solos all night. We do a lot more than just the blues, but it is definitely rooted in the blues.”
Hoyer and his band will perform at 9 p.m. Friday at The Other Side.
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When it comes to writing, Hoyer takes a serious approach.
“I usually start with an idea for a song,” he said. “What is it that I’m trying to sing about? What am I trying to convey to people? I’m writing a song right now about the lessons I’ve learned, that I should be thankful in this life, no matter what. I’m trying to get through this song. The lyrics sometimes come first or maybe the bass line. It just depends on the tune.”
Other times Hoyer first works on a chorus.
“There’s never a set way that I do things,” he said. “But I’m very patient with songs. I let them become what they want to, you know? A good song is already ‘there,’ and if you’re lucky, if you can grab it out of the ether and let it come through you, that’s the best way.”
That patience pays off for Hoyer and his band. They work hard to find the groove of a song, performing it live and exploring the nuances of the music.
“It tends to continue to evolve as we play it on stage,” he said. “And then there’s the album recordings where we’re doing things differently. We just let the song do what it wants to. I don’t take any ownership over the music. Usually I have to for the copyright stuff but I think the music comes from someplace else, another plane. I try to grab it if I can.”
Interviewer Henry Carringan described Hoyer this way: “If James Brown and Otis Redding had a love child, it would be Josh Hoyer.”
Hoyer performed on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2017, earning a spot on Blake Shelton’s team. The band released its latest collection of music, “Do It Now,” in January to solid reviews, prompting a 37-city European tour spanning six countries.
As a composer, Hoyer seeks to present authentic ideas.
“A lot of the tunes comes straight from my life,” he said. “I feel that I can connect more that way. I used to do more storytelling, stuff that was more historical, putting myself in someone else’s shoes. I still do that from time to time. I think it is good to have that kind of empathy as an artist.”
For the most part, Hoyer digs down deeply in his own life and his own experiences.
“With soul music, it needs to come straight from you so it is something you can connect with emotionally when you deliver it.” he said.
As for instrumentation, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal features a horn section.
“There’s a lot of energy that comes with the horns,” Hoyer noted. “You also have the ability to have counterpoint melodies with call and response kind of stuff with the vocalist. That’s always nice. And the sounds coming from the horns is always something I’ve loved to work with in the writing process because they can embellish those melodies and musical ideas as well.”