5 Questions: Josh Marre of Pinegrove, Russel the Leaf, and Blue Ranger

Kenna and Josh in Colorado; Summer 2017 | Photo credit Phillip Randall

Joshua F. Marre is a touring and session guitarist/songwriter from the Adirondack Region in Upstate New York. While playing in the groups Pinegrove and Russel the Leaf, he is prepping the sophomore release from his project Blue Ranger.

1. What’s been keeping you up at night?

There’s an obvious answer here given our political climate. Save for anxiety and excitement – the two recurring culprits inspiring lack of sleep, I ruminate on plans for records a lot. I have multiple notebooks detailing could-be albums. An entirely instrumental record, one with someone else singing everything. Meticulously planning out how and where to record these fantasy pieces is an obsession I have which is at times productive and helps to get bad ideas onto paper, thus preventing them from being recorded. Making lists and checking things off in a notebook, writing things down that I’ve already done just to cross them off, its a mental check-up for me.

Meticulously planning out how and where to record these fantasy pieces is an obsession I have which is at times productive and helps to get bad ideas onto paper, thus preventing them from being recorded.

I’m thinking of compiling all of the note-taking that went into our upcoming record to go along with the physical release. We’ll see. It might happen, I might just write about it in my notebook till 3am.

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Josh Marre: Missing Persons lyrics

 

2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?

My bandmate Kenna and I have been catching up with Spike Lee’s movies. Malcolm X remains in my top 5, and to watch it this time through the eyes of a first timer was exciting.

As far as listening, the new Sidney Gish record has been refreshing and fun for me. Donny Hathaway has been a staple in my listening as of late. He has a beautiful voice along with ear-ticklingly soulful arrangements. Transcendent. “This Christmas” might be my favorite song ever.

 

3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?

Well, we’re currently in the mixing stage of our new record, Saving A Beauty. I like the meditative aspect of mixing. It can be zen, and goes hand in hand with my note-taking obsession. I liken it to making concentric, interlocking circles on a riding lawnmower. Puttering forward with a game plan while revisiting ideas and moments every time you take a lap. Our goal is that upon listening, you’ll inherit the meditation.

I liken it to making concentric, interlocking circles on a riding lawnmower

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Diligent note-taking from sessions

4. If you could add anyone, alive or dead to your team, who would it be?

I’d want to work with someone who operated entirely out of what I’m knowledgable of. I’d want to operate on a foreign plane. Carl Sagan would be neat, seems like a sweet guy. His face graces the window of our studio where Saving A Beauty was recorded. He would gently prompt us to think larger than life on earth, musically. Although this presents the possibility of sending us into an existential whirl-wind, maybe that pressure yielded great results? I’d let him take the wheel.


Carl Sagan was the Chair of the committee tasked with the editing and creation of a disk recording which travels with the Voyager space probe. For more on this fascinating project check out the JPL website.

 

I work with my best friends which is lucky. The band and I were able to be as comfortable as possible recording the whole thing in our studio in Upstate New York. The band is Kenna Hynes on fiddle/piano/vibraphone, Matt Griffin on drums, and my brother Evan Michael Marre on bass. Evan is my producer/engineer, and the songwriter behind Russel The Leaf. If Carl was down to work with us but Evan wouldn’t work with Carl, I’d go for Evan every time.

Russel_The_Leaf
Blue Ranger. Drawings by Toni Nastasi during the recording of the upcoming album | Toni Nastasi on Instagram

5. When the movie of your life is made, what will it be called?

The first thing that came to mind was a song our family used to sing on the way to the lake every summer:

“We’re Here Because We’re Here Because We’re Here Because We’re Here, We’re Here Because We’re Here Because We’re Here Because We’re Here”

That should fit on the spine of a DVD.

Mixing
Blue Ranger. Drawings by Toni Nastasi during the recording of the upcoming album | Toni Nastasi on Instagram