I’m With The Band – Joshua Schultz and Turnpike Troubadours

Posted on April 2, 2024

Country… Red Dirt Country… Indie… Country Rock… Roots Rock… the music of Turnpike Troubadours may be hard to label, but it is really easy to like. That explains why the band from Oklahoma has been on the rise lately, after returning from a COVID era hiatus.

This freewheeling quintet not only sounds good, they create a relaxed, connected and upbeat atmosphere on stage, not only for themselves, but also their fans. If you get the feeling they would be fun to light, you’d be right.  Just as Joshua Schultz, who moved over from the EDM world to tour with them. He spoke to us about life on the road with the Turnpike Troubadours.

There are always a lot of singalongs at a Turnpike Troubadours show. How does that influence your lighting?
“Quite a bit actually. The singalongs allow me  to engage more with the audience and bring the performance to them by doing different things, such as using a color or movement I’ve chosen to compliment the song that being played at the moment.”

This band always seems to be having a lot of fun on stage. How would you describe the atmosphere working for them?
“They do have fun! And they have always treated us as family. It’s  always light hearted and an extremely rewarding atmosphere every show.”

How do the fans at this band’s show compare to the audiences for other clients you’ve worked for?
“I remember the first show I did with them.  I felt the energy from the fans and watched as they engaged with the band and knew all the words to all the songs. At the time, I had just only learned myself ! This experience only fueled me more to bring them a show worthy of that passion.”

How did you hook up with Turnpike Troubadours?
“I responded to a post I saw on Bobnet. Very soon thereafter, I  was contacted by their tour manager about the position. I decided to jump in head first, and have never looked back since.”

How has working with the band influenced your development as a lighting designer?

“As with all new experiences I think it’s opened my eyes to a genre country music, that I never saw myself.  This gave me the opportunity to come at my designs from a different angle. I saw other possibilities when programming about being subtle and evoking different types of feelings than I was used to dealing with when working the EDM, R&B and Hip Hop genres.”

Do the guys in the band ever get involved in lighting, or do they leave that all up to you?
“As our relationship has grown, we become more comfortable bouncing ideas off one another. I look to their input and ideas as we shift into bigger productions. In  the  beginning it was just me doing my thing but that changed as I grew more comfortable with them. I value their insights in things.”

What are some of the special  looks you’ve created with the band?
“So, there’s a song that they play called ‘Tornado,”  that has an abrupt end. It is  the only time in the whole performance when I will completely blackout everything, It happened by  accident the first time but now it’s stuck,  kind of the reverse pop from the audience. Also, in the song ‘Diamonds and Gasoline,’ which is one of my favorites, I try and make the arena look like a shimmering diamond or mirror ball without having the actual having one to use.”

If you had to describe working with Turnpike Troubadours in three words, what would they be
“Oh man, LOL! First would be ‘really freaking fun.’ Or if I looked ahead, it would be ‘just getting started!’”