Joshua Radin came to music late, not picking up a guitar until he was 30. But he was a natural, easily composing songs soon after he started playing. His music was found quickly by Zach Braff, who used it in the TV sitcom Scrubs, boosting Radin’s profile, which he since maintained.
I spoke to Radin a few weeks ago, and he emphasized how much he enjoys connecting with audiences. These past two years, he’s really missed being on stage in front of a crowd, and it was clear, during his performance at The Birchmere recently, that this was where he belonged.
Last year, Josh released his latest album, The Ghost and the Wall. At The Birchmere on March 18, he opened with one of the tracks from it, “Make It Easy.” He followed that up with the first song he ever wrote, “Winter.” The third piece of the evening was a new composition, about the “difference in conversation in the night and in the morning,” which he also described as “alcohol-based,” called “You Said.”
For many years, Joshua didn’t play “Paperweight.” He wrote it with his ex 17 years ago, and he felt conflicted about playing it after they broke up. To sing it, he brought out opening act Allie Moss, who joined him for most of the remaining set. After the song, guitarist Danny Black came out to play on what he described as the “happiest song I ever wrote,” a tune called “Beautiful Day.”
Watch Joshua Radin play “Beautiful Day” live on YouTube:
After “Beautiful Day,” Joshua played “Only You,” followed by “You’re My Home,” “Ghost On The Wall,” and “Hey You.” He explained that he wrote “You’ve Got Growing Up To Do” about his ex “about 15 minutes after we split up.” The set rounded out with “High and Low” and “Brand New Day.”
Introducing “Goodbye,” Joshua told the audience he’s “always had this fear of intimacy.” He added that his mother told him this when he was seven; his mother, he said, was a therapist. This particular bit of stage banter reminded me of the character of Leonard from The Big Bang Theory, whose therapist mother is constantly interjecting her insights into his life; however, unwelcome they may be. The set finished up with “My, My Love” and “Everything’ll Be Alright.”
Following a standing ovation and a round of applause, Joshua, Allie, and Danny returned to the stage for their encore, sending the audience home with Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.”