In early 2022, exiled from his Los Angeles home and reeling from an intense breakup, actor-writer-director-songwriter Josh Radnor sought refuge in close friends and good music. He drove to Nashville, Tennessee with his dog, Nelson, and roughly fifty original songs in tow. There, despite the heartache that initially led him South, Radnor found deep peace, immersing himself in what would eventually become his debut solo album, Eulogy: Volume I + II. The process of sifting through the emotional complexities of love, loss, death, identity, grief, and redemption grew into a powerful outlet for healing. It also resulted in twenty-three beautifully minimal, meditative, and stirring folk-Americana tracks—a double-album debut, the first volume of which is set for release on November 17th, 2023 via all streaming platforms.
Eulogy: Volume I is a garden of carefully-chiseled gravestones—a moment of respite in a frantic,
overwhelming world. Produced and engineered by Nashville friends Jeremiah Dunlap, Cory Quintard, and Kyle Cox, the album’s dozen original tracks exude the unquestionable sturdiness characteristic of classic Americana—these songs tell you stories, make you stomp, and break your heart. Simple, anthemic melodies are laced with electronic elements and idiosyncratic twists, drawing comparisons to 1960s Laurel Canyon artists as well as modern folk acts like Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. Each song feels substantial in its own way, intentionally created by a dynamic and introspective artist seeking to understand his own lived experiences. “At some point in the writing process, I realized that each track on this album is, in one way or another, about death,” Radnor says. “If not a literal death, then a metaphorical one. I was using these songs to honor—and then bury—parts of myself that were no longer serving me. The album is a song cycle of mini-funerals.”
Many of the songs on Eulogy: Volume I serve as goodbyes of sorts: a letting-go of people, places, emotions, and ideas. The driving, plucky opening single, titled “Red” after American poet Robert Bly’s colorful treatise on the phases of masculinity, celebrates the fierce no-fucks-giving spirit of adolescence, while charming and rhythmic wordplay subverts a deeper emotion in deconstructed love song “NYC.” Throughout the new album, Radnor’s grounded and intimate songwriting style blends the timeless art of existential questioning with relatable, down-to-earth narratives, in the vein of acts like Nick Drake, Alexi Murdoch, Bob Dylan, and Neil
Young. Spanning the spectrum of human emotion—from rage to joy, grief to hope—the tracks seem to speak to one another like bodies in a room, alternately concealing, revealing, or connecting various thematic threads. Backed by sometimes rowdy, sometimes sparse instrumentation, there’s an alluring sense of vulnerability woven throughout the album, each track well-attuned to the emotion that sparked its creation. “All my work is a process of storytelling, in one form or another,” says Radnor. “After spending so much of my career telling stories that last ninety minutes or nine years, I’m finding some real joy these days in being more economical, telling three to four-minute stories.”
Songwriting is nothing new to Radnor, who began making music in 2013 with friend and celebrated Aussie artist, Ben Lee. The pair released two albums as Radnor & Lee—a self-titled debut in 2017, followed by sophomore album Golden State in 2020—and toured the U.S. together, playing small local venues as well as international gigs inBrazil, Argentina, and Australia. Bolstered by the crowd response to Radnor & Lee and enthusiastic support from
musician friends, Radnor picked up a guitar along the way and began writing his own melodies and lyrics. Then, in 2021, he dropped his debut solo EP, titled One More Then I’ll Let You Go, via Flower Moon Records. The songs were produced by Ryan Dilmore and praised by American Songwriter for their sincerity, “clever craftsmanship” and “certain purity.” The EP also showcased Radnor’s emotionally-rich, unassuming vocal style and talent for nuanced reflections on life in the guise of relatable, human stories.