I don’t know what I’m doing

Hi. If you’re a regular reader or subscriber to this blog (if not, please subscribe – it’ll make my heart flutter), you’ll know that sometimes I write up blog posts just because I’m thinking about something and want to get my words out. I also tend to harp on “authenticity.” In other words, this is one of those. Or both of those? We’ll see.

Cue: stream of consciousness

There are some things going on behind the scenes at Josh Carples headquarters, which sounds fancier than “in my life.” Don’t be alarmed – although I’m total #sadboi when it comes to my solo music, and I’ve blogged a decent bit about depression over the past five-plus years, it’s actually some good things.

Not to jinx anything, but I might have good news to share at some point. (Ooh, intriguing…) That could always change, but who knows, right?

So anyway, within this vague stuff that I’m vaguely referring to, some of it is a bit scary for me. I dunno, thinking of the potential or whatever. But it might be really good.

And that brought me to hitting up the ol’ Google machine for info, where I proceeded to type “What to do when you don’t know what you’re doing?”

That does bring up some articles, some of which I read, some of which actually probably had some good things in it. It didn’t really help the specifics of my vague (sorry…) situation though.

But I’m trying to do something different, I guess. For me, anyway. Somewhat out of the ordinary. Because, really, why not?

It’s kinda scary, maybe a bit terrifying, but I’m trying to lean into it, instead of running away. I keep trying to remind myself that “surely others have been in a similar situation” and the whole “what’s the worst that could happen?” which, admittedly, is probably the worst possible thing to ask in 2020. I literally just said out loud “I don’t even want to type that” but then I thought it’d be less authentic if I left it out at this point, so maybe I should just provide an explanation. [Insert shrug emoji here.] Hashtag authenticity, amirite?

Me, not knowing what I’m doing.

But really, I have no idea what I’m doing. And that’s OK. And I guess that’s the main thing to get out of this.

Be you. Be real. Be authentic. It’s OK to not know what you’re doing. It’s even OK to not be OK. It happens.

(Yes, it’s hard for me to take my own damn advice many times, but still…)

Thanks for reading. Much love.

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Margarita. In memoriam.

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‘The Final Scene: Live at Ten’

My second album as a solo artist – The Final Scene – was released on Oct. 7, 2010. So to mark the 10th anniversary of it, I decided to record live videos of each song from the album.

The original album can be found at all digital retailers (Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube, Bandcamp, etc.)

The live videos are all on my YouTube channel (and hey, while you’re there, hit that subscribe button!)

Here’s a link to the playlist. I’ll link them individually below.

I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for listening and supporting. Much love.

(Also, be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss a post.)

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‘Remembering Anarcha’ wins Best Long Documentary at IBFF!

Many thanks to the International Black Film Festival for awarding the “Best Long Documentary” award to Remembering Anarcha! The production team – C. DeWayne Cunningham, Royce Williams, and myself – celebrated with some Bowman Brothers bourbon, and yes, there’s a story behind that.

Part of the film was shot in Virginia. DeWayne had a previous engagement, but Royce and I took a road trip up to Fredericksburg in December 2018. While there, we decided to look for a place to grab a drink.

We Googled what was around us, and we found a distillery – the A. Smith Bowman distillery. According to Google, they were open, so we made our way over there.

We get out of the car and start walking toward the building. There were some other people heading inside as well, and we noticed that all of the people were dressed up. We, however, were not.

We walk in and look around… looks like a private event. It was. Apparently, we just crashed a corporate Christmas party.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Also, the distillery isn’t even open that late, so the info we got was wrong. But… while we couldn’t really stay, the friendly staff let us sample some stuff since we drove all the way up from Alabama. And I bought a bottle of bourbon.

I decided that it would be opened when all three of us could get together to celebrate getting into a film festival. But with COVID and life stuff and schedules, it took a little longer.

This past Sunday, however, we finally were able to get together, so we unsealed the bottle to celebrate our ‘Best Long Documentary’ win.

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged and supported us in this endeavor. We’ll let you know as soon as the film is available publicly for viewing. In the meantime, make sure to follow Remembering Anarcha on social media for updates:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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‘Remembering Anarcha’ screens this Saturday in the International Black Film Festival

Remembering Anarcha is an official selection in the 2020 International Black Film Festival and is set to screen this Saturday, Oct. 3 at 11 a.m.

The festival is virtual this year due to COVID-19, so you will be able to view it on their website.

Click here for the screening page.

Immediately following the screening, there will be a Q&A live on the IBFF Facebook page.

Find out more about the film in the announcement post from July 2019.

The Sept. 2020 Guitar Pull

Because you are reading this on the internet, it’s a safe assumption that you are not living under some deserted rock and are aware that the world is super weird and all pandemic-y right now, but alas, good people! I bring you a glimmer of hope!

OK, for real, since COVID showed up, the Cloverdale Playhouse has still been trying to make the Guitar Pull happen as best and safely as possible. The last couple or so have been livestreamed from each individual artist’s home. Of course, livestreaming has it’s own set of difficulties with quality, internet speeds, lag, etc.

So… for the event tomorrow night, it will be on their website, but it was pre-recorded yesterday in the Playhouse courtyard area. We wore masks during setup, kept our distance, and had a great time. It felt good to be back, even with the different format and our audience being the crew and a camera.

Photo by Cloverdale Playhouse Artistic Director Sarah Thornton.

Click here to visit the September 2020 Guitar Pull page. The event will be shown at 7pm tomorrow. Oh, also, I debut a new song and talk about playing a serial killer in a film (again… I know, I know – why am I so scary and murder-y and stuff?)

Anyway, as you can see in the promo image above, I got to share the stage with the talents of Cameron DuBois and Adam Powell. It was fun, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

If you are unfamiliar with this event, my first feature documentary chronicles the event’s history. Commit to the Song: The Joe Thomas Jr. Guitar Pull is available on Amazon and the trailer is below:

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the event tomorrow night. Much love!

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The stories we tell ourselves

For anyone familiar with The Four Agreements, you probably know they sound easy, but are not necessarily easy to put into practice.

For me, because I place a high value on honesty and clear communication, the first – “be impeccable with your word” – and the fourth – “always do your best” – are a bit easier than the two in the middle.

Don’t take anything personally.” “Don’t make assumptions.” Yeah… so how do those even work? 

I mean, it sounds easy, but is it?

It’s in the stories we tell ourselves about the motives we assign to people for decisions they made and how they treated us.

For me, it also ties into the frustration of the unknown and the sadness and anger that many times tie into that. When you feel betrayed, but you have no way of really knowing what was going through the other person’s head. When you feel hurt, but have no way of knowing whether it was intentional or not.

“Oh, but it must’ve been!” Maybe. Maybe not. Only one person can know for sure, right?

I can’t say that I really know where I’m going with this. I started writing this earlier this week, but my mind is all over the place, and I’m trying to remind myself of these things, and I figured maybe I should try to write it out in case it helps someone else in some way.

A number of people I know seem to be struggling right now, and in order to be accountable and authentic, I admit that I haven’t been mentally top notch recently either. There has been a pattern of things over the years in which actions of others left me with a feeling of worthlessness. Luckily, it’s nothing like where I was early last year (thanks, therapy!) but it still rears its ugly head periodically.

But if I can figure out a way to not take it personally and not assume that I know what others’ thoughts or motives are, maybe I can try to narrow my focus on just trying to be the best version of me that I can be.

And if any of my mental ramblings here happen to help you, I’m glad. If not, thanks for reading this far anyway. Feel free to check out some music or film stuff while you’re here.

Check on your friends. Spread some love. Be well.

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Towering Above – Live!

Back in July, Towering Above performed live at the Sanctuary in Montgomery, AL, for a livestream concert with our friends in the Abusements. Sound was provided by Technical Earth Recorders, and our friend Jeff McKinney shot some footage for us as well.

I took Jeff’s footage and the livestream footage (props to Chris Eckels from Abusements for the livestream footage) and added some stuff to create some live videos. I hope you enjoy!

If you want to hear more, be sure to check out our Bandcamp page. Our debut album “<content>obsolete” (under the band name Barrens) and our new acoustic EP “Repeating the Moment” are also on most streaming platforms – Spotify, YouTube, etc. so you can enjoy them there as well.

Thanks for listening!

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New music! Towering Above ‘Repeating the Moment’!

Late last month I posted about an upcoming acoustic EP by Towering Above (formerly known as Barrens.) Well… we released it on Aug. 7, and I was going to announce it being available then, buuuuuuuuuut… we had some delays in getting it on other digital platforms. It happens.

But now that all that is squared away, and it’s currently en route to places like Spotify, Apple Music, etc., I figured it was time for this post. While it’s being delivered to those stores, you can already take a listen on Bandcamp and YouTube.

Track listing:

  1. The Armageddon Gospel Revival
  2. #dadhats (acoustic)
  3. Ab Aeterno
  4. Jumper (acoustic)
  5. All Those Lights (acoustic)
  6. Out of Sight (acoustic)

As I mentioned last month, four of the tracks are acoustic versions of songs from our “<content>obsolete” debut album that was released last year. I’ll embed that one as well…

And hey, why not hit the subscribe button on the band’s YouTube channel while you’re perusing ye olde internwebs: click here. (And while you’re at it, do the same for my channel and for Terrible Master Films. We appreciate it.)

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the music. Much love.

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Towering Above acoustic EP coming soon

Towering Above, the band formerly known as Barrens, has a new acoustic EP coming out soon called “Repeating the Moment.”

Above (towering, one might say [rimshot] [groan] [eye roll] [I’m so sorry; please keep reading anyway]) is the cover art for it.

The image comes from a photo I took back in late December in northwest Alabama. It’s an old drive-in movie theater that I have passed many times. Normally, I’m in a hurry when going through that area, but last year, I had more time to make a few stops and take some pics on the way to my destination.

I thought the image was fitting to the name of the EP. As a filmmaker, I follow some film festivals on social media, and during the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve all been dealing with this year, some festivals have gone online, and others have also started doing drive-in showings. It’s history. Nostalgia. Repeating the moment.

Also, most of the songs on the new EP are acoustic renditions of songs that appear on our debut release “<content>obsolete” (released under the name Barrens.) So again, repeating the moment.

For “Repeating the Moment,” we tracked our parts individually, recording at our respective houses during the quarantine period in March and April. We would send each other tracks to build more parts on, and then I mixed it. Once mixed, we sent it over to Chris Lantrip at Headless Dinosaur Recording in Montgomery, AL for mastering. (He tracked and mixed “<content>obsolete” as well as the first Hail the Titans album “Hymns of Mare Nostrum” and some stuff for Breaking Aim and the Rhythm, which Towering Above guitarist J. Slickwood was in.)

Anyway, a release date and track listing will be released soon, so make sure you’re following the band on Facebook and Instagram.

Thanks for reading, listening, watching, and supporting. Much love.

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