“If people can listen to my music and walk away better for having heard it, then I would consider myself a successful artist.” (Josh Burton)

I first heard Josh share this message about five years ago in the video above. I had just stumbled across his music and listened to Rising. Swept away by the brilliance of his piece, I had to hear more. It didn’t take long for me to download his album Sketches.

In an age where success too often is marked by downloads, likes, and tweets, Josh’s hope for his own music is encouraging. Ever since, I’ve been unable to pass any piano without imagining the beginning of Rising.

The music and the message Josh drew in Sketches framed my own outlook on music. Sparked by his passion and refreshed by his perspective, I finally set out to record and release my own songs, after hesitating for many years.

I entitled my 5-song EP Frames as a way of paying tribute to Josh’s own album title Sketches, remembering his music, and acknowledging his influence on me. Moreover, a frame never points to itself… it points to the picture inside. Music is similar. It doesn’t point to itself, but to the beauty beyond. I have a feeling Josh might have agreed…

Four years ago this month, Josh passed away in Guatemala while en route to a service activity. I remember my initial disbelief that such a talented musician—who was just a year younger than me—was gone. I never met Josh in this life, but if I did, I would want him to know one thing.

Frames is just one of the ways I walked away better for having heard his music.

Frames can be heard here: https://framesep.wordpress.com/

Sketches can be purchased on iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/sketches/id401938360

P.S. I release this under the pseudonym PianoByTheDoor because of a quote from one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis.

“Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells, to the love of the telling […] They sink lower–become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations […]

If there is any of that inflammation left it will be cured when you come to the fountain. […] It is up there in the mountains. Very cold and clear, between two green hills. A little like Lethe. When you have drunk of it you forget forever all proprietorship in your own works. You enjoy them just as if they were someone else’s: without pride and without modesty.”


Dennis Carr
Dennis Carr

Denny is co-author of "5 Steps to Effective Student Leadership: Insights and Examples". His academic background is in theology, philosophy, and educational administration. Outside of work, he is a composer and unable to pass an open piano without playing it.