ALBUM PREMIERE: Joshua Dylan Balis Lets Cinematic Songcraft Shine on ‘We’re On Fire’

Photo credit: Cal & Aly

Joshua Dylan Balis vividly recalls the winter morning he stepped out of a shower in his 16th-floor Dallas apartment and heard sirens converging on the street below. He went to the living room window — a wall of glass — and saw only black smoke, so he threw on some clothes and flew down those 16 flights of stairs — only to confront a locked gate at the stairwell exit. A first-responder had to pry it open to let him out.

That fire, which occurred about three years ago, fortunately involved only one kitchen, but the experience stayed with him.

“It was the first time I was confronted with a fear of death or any kind of mortality in a real way,” Balis explains. Afterward, he began viewing time as something we consume, like fuel, and when it runs out, the flame dies. That concept worked its way into the title song of his debut album, We’re on Fire, an Americana-leaning mingling of folk, pop and what he characterizes as “a little electricity here and there when I want to make a point.”

His debut LP We’re On Fire (due out May 13th,) includes 11 self-penned songs that contemplate the implications of finding purpose in an impermanent world, and in the middle of transformative times.

We’re On Fire was written after Balis experienced his own brush with death. In the days following that pivotal moment, he fully realized that we’re only given so much time, and like fuel to a fire, time eventually runs out. We’re On Fire details Balis’s transformative journey since then, with songs that are reflective of his youth, the people that have come and gone, and what lies ahead.

Balis is currently signed to Dallas, Texas record label State Fair Records. He grew up in a family of accomplished musicians including his grandmother Evelyn, who was a backup vocalist for Patsy Cline during her Hayride circuit, and his father Danny Balis, the co-owner of the Twilite Lounge music venue (Dallas / Fort Worth) and bassist of the band Bastards of Soul.

Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive premiere of We’re On Fire in its entirety. From the album’s 45-second intro, “All in My Head,” a gorgeous nod to inspirations Bon Iver, Sigur Rós and the War on Drugs, the album veers into more Americana and folk-pop territory. Drawing influence from a wide range of artists, from Jason Isbell, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen to the Strokes, Radiohead, and Coldplay, the album find Balis putting his skills as a songsmith and singer on full display. Each song finds him contemplating big life questions while crafting the kind of songs that feel radio-ready with their catchy resonance. Each song is big-hearted, reflecting the universally appealing theme of following our dreams instead of denying them. Throughout this collection of songs, Balis shows his knack for big cinematic songs that can soar with emotion.

Balis describes the inspiration behind the album:

“When I was young, I fell in love with music by listening to greats like Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen. They inspired a sometimes rebellious and absent-minded kid to pick up the guitar and start fiddling, and eventually my love for poetry and Eastern philosophy started to inform my songwriting.

When it came to writing We’re On Fire and everything that I had experienced leading up to that point, the idea of spirit and form, and considerations of how time and love can alter perspective started showing up in the songs that I was writing for this album. So I followed that, and started thinking about time running out, reflecting back on my own purpose in an impermanent world, and ultimately, what we leave behind. That really opened my eyes, and ended up becoming the impetus that led to releasing this collection of songs.”

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