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Judge for Josh Caress

Three Oaks, MI
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Portrait of Josh Caress
Josh Caress spent the first ten years of his life in the city of Rockford, Illinois, in the 1980's. He grew up with parents who loved each other, an older brother to play baseball with, as well as a little sister and little brother. They lived in a modest house in a safe neighborhood where Josh could ride his bike and play with other kids. His dad sold insurance and his mom stayed home, folding laundry while they watched Cubs games together. They went to the pool in the summer and went sledding and caroling in the winter. Everything was as it should be, everything was safe. Then everything changed.

"The Rockford Files," Josh's newest record, is a lot of different things. It is an album about suburban America in a time of confidence. It is an album about childhood. It is an album about our ideas of home and our yearning to be welcomed. It is an album of nostalgia and folklore. It is an album about innocence and where it goes. It is about Eden and the Fall. It is about the past and the future. It carries moments of sheer joy and wonder, as well as heartbreak and longing. "The Rockford Files" is about Josh Caress, but it is also about each of us.

"At some point I just thought, 'You never hear anybody writing about growing up in a loving family in a Midwestern suburb,'" Josh says of the album, "So I figured I had something unique to say.

After Rockford, Josh's family moved to Los Angeles to work in the unpredictable world of non-profit organizations. There was little regular schedule and little regular income. But for the five years they lived there they drove to Michigan and back each summer to visit Josh's grandparents' summer home near the lake, taking in all the sights along the way. There were many adventures. Eventually they moved to that Michigan summer home, living there until Josh followed his brother to Massachusetts after high school.

Josh's whole family had always been musical. His dad opened for Frank Zappa and had a top ten single (in Italy). His parents sang duets like Emmylou and Gram. In Boston, Josh joined his brother's rock group, The Troubadours, a New England mainstay for the next ten years. The rest of Josh's family eventually followed to Massachusetts, with his younger sister and brother eventually joining the The Troubadours. However, Josh had always been making music on his own, even in the Rockford days, when he would employ dual boomboxes for recording overdubs and background vocals.

Josh Caress has self-released four CDs since 2005. He has played over a hundred shows across the United States, most recently touring the East Coast, Southeast, the South and the Midwest in the fall of 2005, a trip chronicled on his record, "Josh Caress Goes On An Adventure!" (2006). In 2006, Josh got married and moved back to Michigan, where he lives with his wife and their first child, Noah.