Redwood Son's Josh Allan Malm is an anomaly. As he will tell you, "Saying I'm not a simple man is an understatement. It's more like, people rarely know what I'm even doing. It's just crazy-making, odd behavior that, quite frankly, pisses a lot of folks off. People love me or they hate me."
With a vinyl release at the end of July, and the digital and CD release set for Aug. 18, unconventional is one way to sum up the man who goes by the moniker Redwood Son, which also is his band's name.
He will be touring relentlessly leading up to the album's release, which is nothing new to him, having previously released an EP with a cyclone-like Northwest live show schedule that helped lay the groundwork for the forthcoming album. At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9, he will play at the Wild Hare Saloon, 1656 Beavercreek Road, Oregon City.
In 2016, he decided to pack up his bags from Portland, while still working on finishing "Saints & Renegades," and move to Nashville, to be closer to other musicians. Malm also was working on building his company, Westicana, both the label that releases his albums and a leading Northwest show promotion company.
In honor of Westicana, and to celebrate the launch of the brand, shortly after his move he released an EP, aptly titled "Westicana." As he puts it, "The 'Westicana' EP was intended to get some new music out there to my fans, old and new, while also building a brand for my own label, Westicana Records, and my show promotion company, Westicana Presents."
The result was staggering, with Redwood Son and Westicana Records moving 2,000 units without any press or radio coverage.
"I played the Northwest like a cyclone, with a blue-collar approach that was borderline psycho," he said. "It didn't go unnoticed, but it also didn't get any press either."
With the EP out, and a solid fanbase awaiting the full-length album, Malm focused back on the prize, "Saints & Renegades." The record chronicles his struggles, depression, fight and hopes with not only his move, but his music career. With a theme of never giving up, keep fighting, stay honest and keep it real running through the album, the 11 songs tell the story of both his journey to Nashville, and his struggle to get the album released.
"'Saints & Renegades' was something that struck me as a fitting title, to represent the duality of the project. There is a certain amount of insanity that almost always comes with making a record," he said. "When I start letting insecurity take over, it's usually followed by a bit of rebellious rage. Once I work through that mess, there is usually a sense of peace and indifference about music altogether. It's so strange to me."
"Saints & Renegades" was brought to life by the production of Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, and backed by Lewi Longmire (guitar), Paul Brainard (pedal steel), Matty Voth (bass), Walker Beckman (drums), Asher Fulero (keys), and Ezra Holbrook (percussion), as well as backing vocals from Laura Ivancie and Peter Leclair.
The album kicks off with the late-night, dusty road country melody of "Comeback," a song that proclaims, "I come back, but I come back stronger. I'm not a simple man, and you can count on that."