Onward and Sideways

From the heart, and the bed

Photo credit to Matt Wignall.

Most of us find our creativity and motivation when we get out of bed in the morning, but not Joshua Radin. His sixth album was written while laying in bed in a hotel room in Stockholm, Sweden. The Ohio-born folk artist said he often feels most inspired while reclining in bed.

“I tend to think better horizontally,” Radin told the Manitoban. “I spend an hour or two after I wake up just laying there, thinking. It takes me a long time to get up.”

Radin said that he has never written an album in bed before, but the combination of jet lag, cold weather, and living in a hotel room led to a spark of creativity that inspired the 13 tracks on his appropriately named album, Onward and Sideways.

Radin said he also had the television on and muted for most of the process.

“Certain images would pass by, and I love visuals,” said Radin. “They tend to inspire me.”

Beyond the way it was written, Radin said the content on the album does not deviate drastically from his previous five. Like much of his past work, the album deals with falling in and out of love. However, Onward and Sideways is a love letter, with each song addressed to the same person.

When asked if he was still with that person, Radin replied, “Yes, things worked out.”

After completing the writing process, Radin said he felt drained.

“I left it all out on the table. Time to fill up the well again.”

In the past, Radin has had the chance to work and perform with Imogen Heap, Missy Higgins, and Gary Jules. On Onward and Sideways, Radin invited Sheryl Crow to record a new version of his song “A Beautiful Day.” Radin said the partnership was a significant one because of his longstanding admiration for Crow and her work.

“I’ve always been a fan of hers,” Radin said. “Years ago, she brought me on the road. I got to watch firsthand from the side of the stage, really watch someone who is a master of songwriting and performing [ . . . ] I was amazed.”

Radin said Crow’s contribution added the tone he was hoping for in the track. Crow and Radin connected over Skype, and Crow did the recording from her home in Nashville.

“I always wanted to collaborate with her. She writes with a lot of positivity in her songs,” Radin said. “So I thought of her [for the track] and luckily she said yes.”

Radin will be visiting Winnipeg on Feb. 23 with Andrew Belle and the Carey Brothers at the Garrick Centre. The performances will be acoustic solos, which Radin believes is a great way to hear some stories. This will be Radin’s second time visiting our city, which he remembers as having good food and good coffee.

“And it was really cold,” said Radin. Well, that sounds about right.