Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News
Local musician Josh Rosenthal spent two years recording his debut album, which is out now.

Josh Rosenthal moved to Utah from his native Lubbock, Texas, after a trip to the Beehive State with a Christian church group.

"I liked it here so much, I decided to stay," said Rosenthal during an interview. "Lubbock is flat, but Utah has mountains and is so beautiful. I get a lot of inspiration."

That inspiration helps Rosenthal write songs. And he's been able to write enough for his debut CD, "Cordillera," which was released two weeks ago. The album is a nice little disc comprised of seven songs that smack of Americana/country music.

"Funny thing is, my main musical influence is Green Day," said Rosenthal. "When the album 'Dookie' came out, I went to get a guitar. Then as I matured, other music began to shape my style — Dave Barnes, Damien Rice, Ben Harper and Josh Wilson started to make a dent in my listening. Then when I moved here, I found out about a local artist named Kalai. And these all helped in my decision of what kind of music I wanted to do."

When writing the songs for the album, Rosenthal said it was stimulating to make sure the songs fit together. "I had to make sure the lyrics made sense. I had to make sure the music and lyrics complemented each other. There were more than a few times when I had to rewrite the lyrics. I had to keep working at them to fit them together."

Rosenthal had 14 songs ready for the recording session, he said. "Then I cut it down to 10 songs. Then I realized that I really loved only seven songs. So those were the ones I took to Nashville to record."

The recording session was a learning experience, said Rosenthal. "I have friends in Nashville, and they've sat in recording sessions. So I had an idea of what they were like, but when I recorded the album I learned things as I went along. It was the first time that I was doing this by myself."

"'Cordillera' took about two years to complete," Rosenthal said. "I wanted to be sure the album sounded like me and not any other artist. The songs, for the most part, are about me. Although I do write songs as seen through the eyes of my friends. Some of them know the songs are about them or their experiences, and others have no clue."

Rosenthal's album is available on or

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