As I mentioned in my last posts, Josh Petersen (marketing, Centricity) and I hit the road for a week to meet with radio stations between TX and MN in January. If you’ve followed my career over the past few years, you’ve heard me talk about Josh.
I think nobody has worked harder to help grow my ministry than Josh Petersen who has logged countless hours with me in rental cars over the years, driving me across the country to introduce me to the world of radio, making it possible for me to share my story and make many new friends. I think Josh has made it his personal mission to help me succeed and his belief in my calling is a gift.
This most recent trip was to introduce my new single, “More Like Falling In Love” to our friends at radio, a trip we began in Houston and then worked our way North to Minnesota. Whenever Josh and I travel, we try to see historical landmarks along the way. This time, we visited the
place where JFK was assassinated and went to the museum in Dallas. But that was about all we had time for on this run… it was an aggressive schedule with non-stop driving, arriving at the hotel late at night and leaving early the next morning. We’ve done these trips before and over longer periods of time, but both of us remarked how we’d never felt more tired than we were on this one, dragging ourselves across the finish line in MN where I was reunited with Taya and the boys and Josh readied himself for his flight back to Nashville
Josh often jokes that he eats like an eighth grader – mac & cheese and PB&Js usually – but we ate pretty good on this trip and I was proud of him for expanding his palette. We had Tex-mex in Texas, Italian in Oklahoma, Mongolian in Iowa, and finally classic American malts and cheeseburgers in Wisconsin. We talked a lot about the relationships that mean the most to us, we had our hearts broken over what was happening in Haiti, and we listened to a lot of good music. I discovered Wyclef Jean on this trip (I’m a little late to the party, I know), fell in love with Johnny Cash all over again, and even got hooked on Josh’s audio book of Sarah Palin’s, which I thought I would hate but actually really enjoyed (not to mention, it was way more entertaining than the old Ronald Reagan speeches that Josh used to make me listen to when we were first on the road together. Josh’s passion for music is matched only by his improbable passion for fiscal conservatism.) We had a great time on the road with each other. After weeks and weeks of being on the road with Josh over the years, he may know more about me than anyone else. Scary thought? Ah, not so much. Josh is a good keeper of honest conversations.
Over the last few years I’ve made some great friends at radio with Josh’s help – never trying to pressure anyone to play my songs, but grateful to get to share my story and give them a chance to hear the heart behind the songs, with a face and a story associated with them. As I mentioned in my previous post, radio music directors receive hundreds of singles each year, but can only add tens of them.
I’ll be honest and confess that in my younger years as an indie artist who couldn’t get airplay to save his life, I was often tempted to think of Christian radio as the bad guy. But that was before I understood their world, and I’ve been blessed to meet some of my favorite people these last few years in the world of radio – people who work hard to serve their listeners – and the real fruit of these radio tours have been the friendships that have come out of them. As much as I’ve gotten to share my story with them, I feel like I’ve gotten to understand their stories a bit better myself.
There have been many music directors who took a chance on me and added songs like “Blessed Be” and “Everything I Own” when nobody else would. I’m grateful for them, and their early support has helped “More Like Falling In Love” do as well as it is right now. We’re so grateful for everyone who’s playing the song right now and hope that it continues to connect.
I should add that Josh has also been Andrew Peterson’s biggest advocate at Centricity, too. Josh may be his biggest fan, and beneath all his bulldog conservative bluster is a guy with a tender heart who cares about art and spends himself on the artists he believes in. Josh is a delightful contradiction. I’ve witnessed in wonder how he will blare good ol’ boy Hank Williams Jr anthems for hours and then sit in the front row of an Andrew Peterson concert with tears in his eyes, calling out requests of some of his most tender ballads. I’ve never feared for my life more than when his team was losing as we listened on the radio, and the worse they did, the more aggressive his driving (and language ;-), but then when we got to the venue, he’d be just as aggressive in the way he would serve me, constantly checking to see if I had everything I needed.
Last week Josh resigned at Centricity. It was quite a blow, honestly, and Andrew and I have lost one of our biggest advocates in the music industry. It’s a good move for Josh, and we’re happy for him, but I know we’ll both miss him and we’re so grateful for all he did for us while he worked there. I think I’ll even miss the Ronald Reagan speeches and conservative political audio books.
Some of my best memories from this season of my life involve Josh. Our road trips were marked with heated debates, dangerously honest conversations, and lots of laughter. Josh and I couldn’t be more different from each other – ever watch the odd couple? that’s us – and because of that, spending so much time on the road with him was like having one of those side mirrors held up at an angle next to the main mirror – it helped me to see parts of myself I’d never seen before, revealing blind spots and giving me a new perspective on my own life. Besides that, it was also fun. When Andrew Peterson was about to go out on a promo tour with Josh, I told him that Josh “will be the most colorful and outrageous character in this chapter of your story – enjoy him.”
I have a lot of great memories, but one of my favorites was when our promotional tour brought us through Minnesota and we stayed the night at my house. Gus would reenact entire scenes of Nacho Libre for Josh, and my older boys gamed with him all night. When one of their friends came over to play too, Josh could sense he was a bit of a bully, and so he ruthlessly dominated him at Mario Strikers to teach him some humility. He got sick that night (we think it was food poisoning from our last visit that day) and spent the whole night becoming intimately aquainted with our bathroom. I tried to get him to cancel the next day of traveling through Wisconsin, but he wouldn’t hear of it. We had a job to do. He threw up so violently in the middle of the night that he popped the blood vessels around his eyes! When we left that morning the circles under his eyes were so dark that he looked like he was wearing a bandit mask. We had successful radio visits that next day, but I’ve always wondered if those stations added my song because Josh looked so scary and intimidating. I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it at this and encourage you to check out our video blogs on you tube that Josh and I made from the road over the last few years.
Thanks Josh for all you’ve done, be blessed in this next chapter. I’ll miss our road trips.
Because of his work and the rest of the crew at Centricity, we’ve been able to get some good momentum on “More Like Falling In Love” – a song that Josh has championed from the start calling it one of the strongest radio singles he’s gotten to work on. He told me that it was his personal mission to do everything he could to break this song at radio.
And now we are enjoying the fruit of our labors and are grateful for the reception the song is receiving at radio, praying that it keeps gaining momentum. These are the stations now playing the song, and if there’s one in your area playing it, you’d be doing us a big favor by letting them know that you’re glad they are. Thanks all.
KLTY / Dallas, TX
WAFJ / Augusta, GA
WSCF / Vero Beach, FL
WAKW / Cincinnati, OH
KLRC / Fayetteville, AR
KXOJ / Tulsa, OK
WGRC / Williamsport, PA
WBHY / Mobile, AL
WCVK / Bowling Green, KY
WJIE / Louisville, KY
KCVO / Columbia, MO
KNWS / Waterloo, IA
KKJM / St. Cloud, MN
WCSG / Grand Rapids, MI
WAYR / Brunswick, GA
KBIQ / Colorado Springs, CO
WCTL / Eire, PA
New Life Media / Illinois
WQME / Indianapolis, IN
KSLT / Rapid City, SD
WNWC / Madison, WI
WGNV / Wausau, WI
KSLT / Rapid City, SD
KJIL / Meade, KS
WWIB / Eau Claire, WI
WMUZ / Detroit, MI
KGCB / Flagstaff-Prescott, AZ
KZKZ / Ft. Smith, AR
KSOS / Las Vegas, NV
WHPZ / South Bend, IN
WCLN / Fayetteville, NC
WLGH / Lansing, MI
WJQK / Grand Rapids, MI
KPEZ / Austin, TX
WBSN / New Orleans, LA
KHZR / St. Louis, MO
WBYO / Sellersville, PA
Sirius-XM / Satellite Radio
KFIS / Portland, OR
WFFH-Salem / Nashville
KBMQ / Monroe, LA
KADI / Springfield, MO
KXGM / Cedar Rapids, IA
KNMI / Farmington, NM
Jason Gray is a recording artist with Centricity Records. His latest single, out now, is "When I Say Yes".
Would love to hear “More Like Falling In Love” on KROA / Grand Island, NE! Any chance they’ve been contacted about playing the song?
Thanks for sharing that story and tribute to Josh. That is great thing to do for a dear friend.
“More Like Falling In Love” is one of my favorites on the new album and it will always hold a special place in my heart because of how it touched my son Travis at your show in TN last January. For me, the song encapsulates a journey that I’ve been on for the last 10 years working out what Steve Brown calls an “orthodoxy of love.” I pray this tune gets tons of radio time as it is a great one on an album full of great tunes.
I have no words………….
Jason and Andrew’s music have and still do give me purpose and clarity on my journey.
The story and chapter does not end here………….
What a great tribute to a great ally and friend.
Also, when were you in Dallas? I wonder if I could have looked down from an office building and found you.
I’m presently whooping the tar out of Josh Petersen in Words with Friends.
Why am not surprised by that? The picture along makes me chuckle.
Our church had the pleasure of hosting Andrew and Jason for their most recent CD release tours, both of which Josh was present for. I’ll always remember that during Andrew’s show, Josh was keeping track of the Ohio State – Penn State football game on a computer at the back of the sanctuary. When he came back about a year later with Jason, he said that he had good memories of the previous show, but still associated our church with that terrible loss.
I claim very loose connections with all three of these men, but I have certainly appreciated their friendship from a distance. I’ll definitely miss working with Josh – it was always a pleasure. May God bless your future endeavors, brother.
I think I like this Josh fellow.
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