by Enola Gay Mathews
Having grown up at Reilly Springs in Hopkins County, Texas, Josh began a lifelong love of the music of Elvis Presley at a very early age. He loved to watch Elvis movies, and throughout his childhood, he put on concerts for his parents, Gary and Debbie Davis, nightly before bedtime. He had memorized most lyrics to Elvis music and dialog to Elvis movies as an adolescent. I was first introduced to Josh, a 6-year-old out to eat with his parents at the old West Side Plaza restaurant downtown where I was singing. He was very shy as a child but at age 14, Josh decided to take a bold step by making his first public appearance. It was during Talent Night at the local restaurant, K-Bobs. Along with Guy Rushin, I was entertaining there and introduced Josh’s debut performance. He later told me he was nervous at first, but soon felt a connection with the people who were watching him. I was so proud of Josh as he gave a surprisingly polished performance to the ‘Hound Dog’ track, showing himself to be a natural-born entertainer. Truthfully, he had been rehearsing a long time for that first show!
From that point, he was hooked on appearing live. When Christmastime came, Josh was asked to perform his Elvis act downtown in a daytime family event put on by the City of Sulphur Springs. Reminder notes from the elementary schools brought a lot of families out, and that day, the fully costumed Josh got his first taste of screaming young girls who each wanted the scarves he was tossing out! He played the role of Conrad Birdie in the SSHS production of ‘Bye Bye Birdie’, a story inspired by Elvis Presley’s induction into the US Army in 1958. As he matured and his voice changed, Josh stepped into the Texas Opry circuit, including the Reilly Springs Jamboree, and then began to get his feet wet in the competitive ETA world of Elvis Tribute Artists. He will admit, it took awhile to learn the ropes and the etiquette of competition, and to be recognized and accepted by the ‘other Elvises’. But he made some lasting friends and lots of fans during those years of travel with his parents. In 2017, I was privileged to join the family on one of the Caribbean cruises where Josh performed nightly. His goal was to establish himself among the many talented entertainers who give tribute to the life and legend of Elvis Presley, and he has accomplished that. Competing in contests in Texas and Oklahoma and then in Branson, Orlando and Memphis including the global Ultimate Elvis, Josh is counted among the top 20 Elvis Tribute Artists in the world by Elvis Presley Enterprises.
Josh married in 2017 and his wife Jessica handles promotion of his media. He remains a regular on the Opry circuit, booking private and corporate parties, and attending ‘Elvis Week’ festivities in Memphis. His repertoire has broadened to include tributes to Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and others. Josh is a crowd-pleasing entertainer and always performs high-energy shows, whether it’s a tribute to Elvis or Rock n Roll. Due to our long history, Josh still calls me ‘boss’ whenever we talk! To me, that shows character, and that he’s never forgotten his roots. I am super pleased to welcome Josh back to the Reilly Springs stage backed by Gary Jones and the Running Creek Band on Saturday May 15, 2021 at 7pm.