Versatile singer/songwriter Josh Shilling boasts an impressive combination of experience and musicianship, belying his youth. Shilling's musical forays have been diverse and considerable, ranging from jazz and funk-tinged ensembles to soul and contemporary country, jam-band and folk projects.
A Martinsville, Virginia native, he began playing the piano at a mere 7 years old. As a child, his voracious musical study traversed rock, jazz and classic country. He matured into a skilled pianist whose playing style capably relays honky tonk, rock, funk or soul grooves. Shilling also developed steadily as a guitarist, while honing his natural vocal ability.
As a teenager, Shilling fielded offers to tour nationally with professional bands, and at 17, he graduated high school one year early to begin his musical pursuits. He began traveling with The Kings, a successful regional band from Roanoke, Virginia. The deceptively junior new member stunned audiences with his soulful vocals and confidence. Subsequent gigs soon followed with nationally touring artists including Cimmaron, country star Billy "Crash" Craddock and Chicago's Bill Champlin, who proclaimed Shilling "has the potential to be one of the greats."
Esteemed trumpet and trombone player Mic Gillette also enlisted Shilling's services. Stints with The Funky Loophole that featured members of group Tower of Power, along with Balancing Act and crowd-pleasers The Embers, expanded his musical palate. His collaborations with Gillete prompted the revered musician to dub Shilling the "real deal." Continually perfecting his sound and delivery, he began to perform at least 200 dates a year.
His 2005 collaboration with Detroit-based Balancing Act led to resounding affirmation of Shilling's songwriting skills. In addition to providing lead vocals and keyboard work, he penned several compositions for the group's album. One of the tunes attracted the attention of MTV, who obtained licenses to incorporate the song into episodes of popular shows "Punk'd" and "Making the Video."
2007 found Shilling joining acclaimed bluegrass ensemble Mountain Heart. His robust vocals, evolving signature piano stylings and nimble guitar work enhance the group's rich acoustic sound. Noted music journalist Jon Weisberger praised Shilling's addition to the band: "He's going to fit right in with Mountain Heart's signature sound, while bringing some new dimensions to their music...there's no apparent limit to the upper end of his range." The same year, Shilling wrote or co-wrote all of the four new songs featured on the group's live album, The Road that Never Ends, including project's title track, which reached the forth slot on Billboard's bluegrass chart.
Mountain Heart's January 2007 appearance on the Grand Ole Opry introduced Shilling to an eagerly receptive crowd; he earned a standing ovation and encore that evening - a rarity and intoxicating distinction for any artist on that revered stage. Since that night, Shilling has played on the Opry stage over 30 times, has opened several shows as part of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 2008 summer tour, and is currently touring and performing with legendary guitarist Tony Rice.
Now based in Nashville, Shilling continues to perform with Mountain Heart while pursuing his solo career. When he’s not recording or writing for new projects, guest appearances with artists who inspire him also line his schedule. "I always try to be involved with something that's truly special - something innovative," Shilling explains. "I want to be a part of something that's real. No matter what style it's rooted in, I want the music and experience to be heartfelt and authentic." He embraces music in its totality: His fierce immersion in one genre is enhanced by his passion for the others. Young but prodigious, Josh Shilling's future promises both success and tireless innovation guaranteed to delight music lovers all over the world.