Joshua Panda Band Plays 'Tazday Twilight Blues Show' 3/15/11
From left: Ed, Bob, Shannon, Taz and Joshua Panda kickin' it at Big Heavy World.
Words by Julie Jay Seger, Photos by Sam Donnelly
The Tazday Twilight Blues Show hosted the Joshua Panda Band this week from 8 to 9P.M. on 105.9 FM The Radiator. Joshua and his band brought their rowdy energy into the studio to chat and play five tunes for us. Joined by Ed Grassmeyer on standing bass and Bob Wagner on acoustic guitar and harmony, Joshua himself rocked the acoustic guitar and lead vocals. The band's "coach," Ruthie Hill, also hung out to keep the boys from making too many trips to the bar downstairs.
Joshua Panda rose to fame as a singer-songwriter with a country-inspired, soulful sound. His childhood in Huntersville, North Carolina was filled with family, church and gospel music. "We really didn't have what you might call secular music. My family would gather 'round and sing hymns, so that's where I got my start as a singer and musician."
Joshua brought his gospel-pipes and vivacious presence to Vermont, where he has quickly become a Burlington favorite, impressing locals and Vermont's Governor, Peter Schumlin. Joshua solidified his local persona with numerous gigs around Burlington and at Higher Ground, where he and Bob Wagner will be opening for Martin Sexton on April 9th. The Joshua Panda Band is also rumored to be playing at the Champlain Maritime Festival this summer, their final gig before kicking off a European tour with stops in Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and possibly the U.K. this September.
Joshua and his band have chemistry and stage presence that are just plain fun to be around. Their antics like feet stomping, weird voices and bizarre sources of inspiration (Bob's beard and the act of farting) add an element of daring matched in their music. Joshua's passion radiates from his vocals and friendly calls of encouragement to his band mates. It was a pleasure to hear them jam unplugged yet unrestrained in the Radiator studio. For more details, check out the official Joshua Panda website. Thanks again to Joshua, Bob, Ed and Ruthie for hanging out on the Tazday Twilight Blues show on 105.9 FM The Radiator.
Joshua and Bob feeling the music.