“half bluegrass, half Americana... a sweet cocktail of spirited texture, flowing melodies, intricate harmonies and boundless soul..." - Local Spins
“The road to hell is paved with wealth” or so says Joshua Rilko on his debut solo album and double EP Lost Soul / Rock and Roll released in December of 2021. Hailing from Saginaw, Michigan, Josh cut his teeth writing songs for his high shcool ska and punk bands as a dreadlocked young guitar player. While studying elementary education at Michigan State University, he became obsessed with Bluegrass music and the mandolin. Diving head first into the fertile Michigan Bluegrass scene, he was soon collaborating with the already popular Greensky Bluegrass and a then unknown guitar prodigy named Billy Strings. In 2010 he co-founded Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys and with Lindsay and Josh at the helm the band quickly gained local and national recognition, releasing three highly acclaimed albums all while touring full time all over America, Germany, Australia and the UK. In 2015, they made the move to Nashville and Josh quickly became a mainstay in the local Bluegrass scene while continuing to tour with the band. Living in Nashville saw Josh take his mandolin playing and songwriting to new heights, however, life still revolved around playing and touring full time with the Flatbellys so his solo ambitions took a backseat for years.

Fast forward to 2020 when the music industry all but shut down for the entire year. The pandemic brought new perspectives and massive changes in both the personal lives and professional lives of many touring musicians, and Josh was no exception. By the fall of 2020 Josh found himself newly divorced, no longer in a band with his partner, and sitting on a big batch of new original songs that provide reflection, healing and fresh outlooks on the current world. Some of the songs felt at home in Bluegrass but half of them were something else entirely. So the decision was made to make two separate EPs that would reflect the full breadth of Josh’s singing, playing, and songwriting. In December of 2020 Josh went into the studio with an all-star lineup of young Nashville Bluegrass musicians to record the first half of the record. He enlisted Jed Clark on guitar, George Guthrie (the Wooks) on banjo, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (Mile 12/ Molly Tuttle) on fiddle and Geoff Saunders (Mark O’Connor / Sierra Hull) on bass. Billy Strings stepped in to play guitar on the most overtly political song of the record, “Bullshit Mountain”. Side A, Lost Soul was recorded by guitarist and engineer Jake Stargel of Mountain Heart at his home studio in Nashville. It was mixed and mastered by world-renowned engineer Dave Sinko (Punch Brothers / Chris Thile). Highlights from this session include the opener “New Way to Fly” that is sure to become a Bluegrass standard along with the beautiful reflective waltz “When Springtime Comes” and the raging original instrumental “Ripwalk”.

Soon after completing the Bluegrass portion, it was time to turn up the volume for the rest. A week later, Josh enlisted engineer and producer Ben Sanders along with long time Lindsay Lou bandmates PJ George III and Alex Bice to record the Side B: Rock and Roll portion of the record. The result is an inspired collection of songs with lush production that creates a unique little world for each track while maintaining a common thread throughout. If the first EP was restrained to the tried and true strictures of bluegrass band instrumentation and forms, the second EP explodes with joyful exploration, with everyone playing multiple instruments on each track to create a big yet refined sonic world for each song. In addition to Josh's seasoned mandolin, you’ll find electric guitar, keyboard, electric bass and drums along with fiddle, accordion and layers of background vocals. Lindsay Lou provides harmony vocals as does Maya DeVitry (Stray Birds). Highlights include the instant Tom Petty style classic “Memories of Yesterday” along with with “Climb that Hill” and the Beatles inspired epic title track “Lost Soul / Rock and Roll”. Side B: Rock and Roll was mixed by PJ George III and Ben Sanders and mastered by Dave Sinko.

Special Guest

Morgan Haner

Morgan Haner is a working class song smith. His songs tell stories in the great tradition of American songwriting, translating into being a human in the 21st century.

The only thing as good as the show? The drink you have after


A few short steps from the Listening Room is One Twenty Three—our neighborly New American Tavern, serving hearty dishes with modern flare.