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This Cloverdale country boy is headed to Vegas

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 | Posted by

Josh Bishop’s musical career started at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair more than a decade ago.

Cloverdale’s Josh Bishop is headed to Las Vegas next month to audition for NBC’s “The Voice” and a chance to win a Hollywood recording contract.

The 35-year-old country singer/songwriter will be competing against a host of other talented musicians from around the country, under the direction of the show’s celebrity coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher and Shakira.

Bishop, who grew up on the top of Pine Mountain, graduated from Cloverdale High School. The ride into town was 45 minutes each way, so it seemed only fitting that one of the first songs he wrote was entitled “Pine Mountain Road.”

His dad, Mason Bishop was a musician and once played in a band called Snow Blind.

“My dad lived a really busy life so he never really sat down to teach me how to play, but I would watch him like a hawk.” says Bishop.  “He had no idea I had such a huge interest in what he was doing, but it took me no time at all to learn some of the lyrics and chords he was doing.”

When he was 20, Bishop formed his first band called Longhorn and got a feel for what it was like to perform with a full band backing him.

“It was definitely a whole lot different than sitting on a tailgate or around a campfire somewhere playing music by myself,” he laughs.

At the Cloverdale Citrus Fair in 1999, he decided to try his hand at a little karaoke. After singing Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Take the Girl,” the crowd was on their feet yelling and screaming and a semi-pro agent was waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs.

The following year, he entered the Citrus Fair’s talent competition and not only won First Place in his category, he won Best of Show in the Adult Talent division.

With his next band, Hick Town, Bishop opened the show at the 2007 Citrus Fair, and since then has played at various venues around the county, from weddings, parties, picnics and fairs to places like Maverick’s Santa Rosa and Kodiak Jack’s.

This Sunday from 7 to 10 p.m., Bishop will be at Maverick’s, 397 Aviation Blvd.  Joining him on stage will be Jeremy McNutt playing acoustic bass and rhythm guitar.  The two of them will be performing several of the should-be-on-the-radio songs they’ve written.

He says one of the coolest things that’s happened to him so far is hearing someone sing along to a song he wrote.

As much as Bishop would like to win The Voice’s top prize of a Hollywood recording contract, he says “I’ve traveled north to south and east to west doing what I love. Even if I don’t make it big in the music business, I’d still travel around the world and play my songs.”

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Mary Jo Winter is our Cloverdale correspondent.
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