"I had someone cry in front of me the other day," Talia Kosh tells me. It's a beautiful sunny afternoon and Kosh is gearing up for an upcoming two-Thursday run of shows at Vanessie with her band Golden General. "You're a lawyer, so they'll doubt you until they hear your voice, and then it's, 'Oh, I'm so sorry I doubted you!' But I get it—if you do something professionally outside the area of music, it can be difficult to break through people's preconceived perceptions."
Outside of the band, Kosh is an attorney. She's also the president of nonprofit organization New Mexico Lawyers for the Arts (which seeks to help creative types navigate legal matters) and counsel to Meow Wolf in certain areas—she's not exactly who you'd expect to see shredding a ukulele and belting out impassioned songs about love, loss, heartache and sadness with a Siouxsie and the Banshees, new-wave bent. And yet she is and does, and she'll continue as long as she can.
"My father got me a ukulele, and then after my grandfather died, I found out he'd been an avid player," she continues. "It's in the family and I've been playing for kind of awhile; I sang in the gospel choir at the College of Charleston, but I didn't start writing songs until I got the ukulele."
She'd already worked with local vocalist and vocal coach Felecia Ford for years, and by the time she had 15 songs, she put together the band and started playing shows. At first, things were a little more rocking. Take Golden General's upcoming first single "Clown," an ode to Kosh's friend Niko Magadini—who has since passed away—and his punk band Clown. Kosh belts it out like it's her job while the Pete Townshend-esque backing track feels poppy and bright. Lyrically, it's not the happiest song you've ever heard, but it does demand attention and hits a series of musical feel-good highs.
Things have changed in recent months, though, and Kosh has stripped down the live show to her voice and her uke and guitarist Gregory Lee. "Of course the songs have to change up a bit when you don't have the full band," she explains, "but I don't think they've changed that much. And I like to think my stuff is approachable enough even without a drummer or bassist."
Such instrumentation is still present on the recorded material, and Kosh and company are still working on the Golden General EP at Kitchen Sink Studios with an assist from local producer Brian Hardgroove and engineering from Jono Manson. She might route a tour once the EP is completed, but she also says she's already anxious to get back in the studio for a full-length album. "I've got enough material," she says with a laugh, "and I'm also cognizant of my time constraints when it comes to hitting the road. I really want to focus on writing and recording new material, anyway."
This brings up to Vanessie, a venue that has served, shall we say, a much older clientele with its piano lounge and wine bar aesthetic. It's attempted to break that mold in the past—unsuccessfully. Kosh's music, however, can and should appeal to a younger crowd, and it'll be interesting to see if they can hold onto that momentum should the turnout be positive. And it should be. Even in rough mixes provided by Kosh, it's easy to tell she's on to something. The proper support could make all the difference.
"The gravity of life … I'm aware of it, and I can't say a lot of my songs are 'uplifting,' but they have a sense of humor to them, and that's something I carry with me," Kosh says. "I think at this point it's a necessity in terms of processing my environment—it's a necessity for me to write."
Golden General: 6:30 pm Thursday June 28. $2. Vanessie, 427 W Water St.,