The Leminghead Experience: NY to Dallas

Written by Jodi Lynn Frasier – May 01, 2008

Josiah Leming TribuneHave you ever had the opportunity to stand on the precipice of something so profound that all your previous perceptions about what is or what should be are completely altered? After having this experience, I am left to wonder if the words I write on this page can even begin to capture a small glimpse into this amazing moment. I find, however inadequate they maybe, the words must be written if only to validate that is was not a dream.It all started some months ago while home on a typical evening and finding there was nothing of interest on T.V. This in itself is a common occurrence but resulted in my passing by the broadcast of American Idol 7 auditions in Atlanta. I have never been a fan or watched the show previously, but found myself gravitating to the story of a young man trying to live his dream and willing to sacrifice everything in the process if it meant he would succeed. This is where I first learned of Josiah Leming, a then 18 year old from Morristown, Tennessee. There was just something about him that I found very polarizing and I was unable to look away.

It’s common knowledge what occurred in the weeks that followed as his elimination from the reality show, before America had their say, was highly publicized. Josiah would have to find another way to reach his goal of bringing his music to the masses.

In this span of time, I came across a MySpace account, run by Mr. Leming himself and was surprised to learn of the songs he had already written and composed. This is where the real Josial Leming experience begins. Where you find every melody and verse and composition and know you’ve somehow found yourself with a unique opportunity to see the rise of a legend. An unknown artist, who has been blessed with a gift of taking an intangible emotion and putting it into a song, wherein by listening, you can feel the weight of his soul. This fueled my desire to find some way to see his performance live and to see it in an intimate setting prior to his inevitable rise to fame. I am happy to say that sometimes dreams do come true and like Josiah I overcame obstacles that stood in my way and found myself staring into the face of greatness.

The adventure began at 3:00 a.m. on a Wednesday with my alarm declaring it was now time for me to begin my own quest. Ten similarly minded people from all across the country, boarded planes and made our way to Texas to see a performance at The Loft in downtown Dallas. The venue was to be small in size and I knew the walls would never contain the rush of emotions that would follow.

We arrived at the venue nearly three hours in advance and were greeted by a small film crew who were setting up to record the concert and do a documentary of Josiah’s journey. I was fully aware that we were a small sample of a whole, and represented the many that had already been touched and inspired by this little known musician. We were fortunate enough to be there at that moment and take part in the documentary process. I felt the weight of its importance and knew this may be the only opportunity to communicate how this young man from Tenessee is so much more than a rejected reality T.V. personality. In fact, that experience for him was a mere detour on a path he had already begun to travel years prior.

Soon after, waiting for The Loft doors to open, we suddenly heard the sound of piano keys echoing down the stairwell. The room stood still with each breath held in fear of missing a single note. “Check…Check”, his southern accent reverberated off the walls and the screams of waiting fans filled the space. His innocent laughter immediately followed and we knew our excitement would be absorbed by him and reflected back when he took center stage.

Finally, standing near first in line, I made my way to the stage floor and was struck by the minimalist scale of the room. It was then I realized that only inches of air would stand between me and a boy whose name would soon be known around the world. As the lights grew dim and the stage was slowly filled with smoke, I reached out and gently rubbed my fingers across the keyboard. I had secured the coveted spot and would spend the next moments staring directly into the eyes of unexplainable bliss.

And so it began as Josiah Leming took the stage and began his set with “To Run”. I immediately accepted that only his stature would remain small, while everything else before me loomed larger than life. Finally, all that had been reported regarding previous performances was being witnessed first hand. His graciousness towards his fans, the untempered vocals, his willingness to draw us in and take us down the winding path he now traveled and above all his ability to leave us awestruck and hypnotized. As his voice resounded the last of “To Run”, I extended my hand to him, and only in that moment when I felt his hand grasp mine did I allow myself to believe this moment was real.

Josiah Leming Tribune ArticleJosiah treated us to fan favorites “Her”, “This Cigar”, “All My Friends” and “Razorblades and Handgrenades” as he switched between his guitar and the keyboard. In addition to a cover song of “3rd Planet” from Modest Mouse he filled an unexpected audience request for “some Elton John”. His smiles confirmed he was in his element as if born to sit alone on stage for all to see. Cameras flashed endlessly as if he were already a star standing on the red carpet surrounded by paparazzi. His rendition of “Body and Mind”, a song inspired by lost loves, brought tears to on-lookers, including if only briefly Josiah himself, as he relived the raw emotions of his past.

Just when we thought his lyrical mastery must have a finite life, previously unheard songs, newly written and composed since his stint on Idol, were shared with the crowd. “Punk Ass Rain”, “Over and Over”, “Dizzy on the Rooftops” and “Arctic Outcry Wind” are sure to provide credence to the fact this kid is not a flash in the pan. His voice echoed into the night while the crowd screamed his praise. He ended many songs with his signature smile and modest thank you and fielded questions and comments from the audience. At times he was very animated and obviously found great happiness in the world he created on stage.

Knowing full well the sacrifices and distances so many of us had traveled, Josiah then turned his extra mic toward the crowd and started playing “Bad News Baby”. We did not dissapoint and joined him in the chorus, our voices merging into one. Here we were, his “Bad News Babes”, coming together from all over the country, listening to words that never rang more true – “the only girl I’ll ever love is trapped inside a song”. His music is his life, his unending love and without it, all else would lack meaning.

Not surprisingly, the show concluded with the introspective melody of “One Last Song” and we all stood wishing the night did not have to end. Josiah allowed the experience to continue after his performance by offering to sign autographs and take photos with anyone who came to support him. This included a group of friends from Texas, where he spent significant time while traveling in search of his big break. I watched him work the crowd effortlessly and was amazed at his ability to handle all that was coming at him. He made a point to personally speak with every person who stood waiting for an opportunity to be close to him.

When all that remained were the ten who were brought together by a common musical interest, to our amazement Josiah stayed. He spoke of his day to day life and of the things he is looking forward to, like the album being released in September. He shared his feelings and misgivings on selecting a label to support him and remains pleased with his choices. “I think they really believe in me”, he said. He confirmed his retention of creative control for the album and is trying to surround himself with people he can trust. People he can trust with the thing he holds most dear, his music. The process is not easy and the transition not always smooth, but he works each day to propel himself forward with unsurpassed determination and admits, “I’m satisfied”. But you can see in his eyes that true happiness will not be obtained until he makes it to a point where he can live each day on the stage pouring out his heart and soul.

From what I saw here in Dallas, that time will come soon enough and I will look back on this night and know I was able to share a moment with a brilliant artist on the cusp of making musical history. An artist who can make you smile and feel and cry and dream with only a few words he wrote. An artist who pours every ounce of inner strength into each performance as though it would be his last. And he will succeed because his words are his own, the feelings are real and the passionate display that results is exhilerating for all those who bear witness. Josiah Leming has a presence. His voice lingers in your thoughts, haunting your heart and leaves you simply begging for more.

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    This site is in no way shape or form affiliated with Josiah Leming. This is simply a fan site to show our dedication to the artist. All images, information etc. are credited and belong to their rightful owners.