Joshua Messick, the 2003 National Hammer Dulcimer Champion, resides in Houston, Texas, where he continues to broaden his repertoire with fresh, original compositions and innovative adaptations of favorite melodies from every musical genre. He has delighted audiences of all ages around the world, and his beautiful harmonies and charming arrangements can be heard at weddings, churches, schools, and other public and private venues.
As a young lad, Joshua recalls being moved to tears by the beautiful music he heard in his home and church. His bent toward music showed itself early, and discovering the hammer dulcimer at the age of nine opened up the way for his God-given talent to be expressed. He spent countless hours playing the instrument that seemed to be chosen, not by him, but for him.
Joshua's proficiency was awarded at the age of ten, when he placed second in the Texas statewide competition. He went on to become a two-time Texas State Champion, as well as the 2001 National Reserve Champion, and 2003 National Champion.
Joshua has released two recordings - "Be Thou My Vision" (2001) and "Stillness" (2004). In both recordings, you will appreciate Josh's expressive creativity, beautiful arrangements and gifted execution.
Stillness was released in 2004 after a year-and-a-half of preparation and work in a professional studio. Featuring some of the most difficult songs ever executed on the hammer dulcimer, Stillness is an exquisite showcase of Joshua's musical artistry, showing Joshua's passion for communicating the full range of emotion in each piece. Technically perfect, this is incredibly soothing music at its best.
Joshua states, "The hammer dulcimer is profoundly beautiful. I decided to create a CD that would help a person to relax after a long day, as well as demonstrate the versatility of the instrument. I wanted to branch away from the traditional folk and bluegrass music that is often associated with the hammer dulcimer and create a unique blend of varied instrumentation that would keep a person's attention. It was amazing to hear how well the album came together when it was finished. I am grateful to God for helping me to 'orchestrate' Stillness."
Stillness includes an outstanding cast of support musicians that include national finger-style guitar champion John Standefer and nationally recognized cellist Max Dyer. "God blessed me with some of the finest supporting musicians. Each performer on this CD is incredibly accomplished. I am grateful to them for contributing their talents and being dedicated to help make this recording exceptional," relates Joshua. The instruments included are cello, guitar, flute, penny whistle, piccolo, French horn, bassoon, clarinet, and acoustic bass.
What the listeners say ...
"The CD arrived today, and the music is beautiful. Thank you. I thought I was going to check it out while I did other chores tonight. Wrong. I wasn't halfway through Beauty and the Beast before I had to sit down and immerse myself in the music."
"I have sat down and listened to your music. I really enjoy it. More than you can imagine. Your music has an anointing to it that draws me to a quiet place to meet God".
"I'm listening to Stillness for the second time. It's a marvelous album and really shows what can be done with a hammer dulcimer."
"Beautiful, Dude. Beautiful.I especially liked the classical stuff with your own unique spin. For example, Fur Elise. Weirdly cool. Very. I dug that one totally. The "extra" instrumentalists were very good, added positively to the mix, didn't overpower the main reason for me listening (to hear the hammer dulcimer), and lended an additional facet of creativity that worked very well with the rest of your arrangements. Kudos to you for taking enough time to do it right."
"I absolutely loved your "Stillness" CD! The music is so beautiful! It's so inspiring to listen to the arrangements of the various songs. Keep of the good work!"
"I purchased the cd, Stillness, for myself in a little shop called Mountain Made Music in Nashville, Indiana. It's a touristie type place with lots of little shops. In fact, my sister and I went in specifically to purchase dulcimer music, and listened to your cd, along with several others. I was struck with the uniqueness of your selections. Who knew Beauty & the Beast would be so lovely on dulcimer. My daughter heard me playing the cd and insisted we'd be fighting over it. Probably right."
Check out the artist's website:
1. Beauty and the Beast
2. Faith (Mozart's Sonata in C / My Faith Looks Up to Thee
3. The Highlands (Down by the Salley Garden / Danny Boy)
4. Fur Elise
7. In Dreams (From The Lord of the Rings)
8. Scrapbook Memories
9. Moonlight Sonata
10. Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring
11. Selah (Prelude in C / More Precious than Silver /Â Canon in D /