MP3 Emory Joseph - Labor & Spirits
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10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Americana, COUNTRY: Country Rock
With critical praise and industry appreciation for this debut album "Labor & Spirits" earning him likely multiple writing credits for Bonnie Raitt's next album- as well as the increasing opportunities he's being offered to perform nationally with his touring band "The Peccadillos", Emory Joseph is certainly one to watch.
That an artist can pop up - seemingly out of nowhere - and arrive as mature, fully formed and self-possessed as Emory Joseph is mind-boggling. But from the jump, the youthful forty-two year-old musician has steadfastly been at work in and around music, while avoiding the usual musicians' paths.
"I was fortunate, or unfortunate depending on how you look at it, to have always been a little wayward. My thumb got me to a lot of places, except to school. I dropped out of school, left home real early, and got into all manner of things while I was honing my musical skills. Although I had some studio success here and there, and connected with well known players who offered me encouragement and stage time along the way (late blues great Albert Collins is someone to whom he says he owes a great deal), I never really liked playing in bar bands and didn't know enough about the business to get a recording deal - so I ended up doing a lot of other things for work."
"A lot of other things" included training dogs (with British TV trainer Barbara Woodhouse), grooming, working and shoeing horses for some of America's most famous riding professionals, sailing boats, singing jingles, and voicing commercials and cartoons. He's been a masseur, a copy-writer, a disc jockey, a teacher, a lecturer and is, he says with obvious pride, "somebody who has learned to catch, grow, cook, smoke or jerk just about anything you'd care to put in your mouth."
"I think, like all of us, I was looking for an honest place to write and sing from, one that would include all the sounds and feels I've come to love, and match the life I want to live. I'm thrilled for just exactly how things have turned out and wouldn't change a thing with regard to the when and wheres. I've had adventures, learned a bunch of things I'm proud to know, and have always been able to keep my musical dream lamp lit."
On his debut - the self-produced LABOR & SPIRITS, he treats his songs to the kind of intuitive cross-pollination that once found Robert Palmer enlisting Little Feat and The Meters to sneak Sally through the alley, sent Ry Cooder to help Randy Newman burn down a cornfield, and freed up the Wicked Pickett to turn "Sugar Sugar" bubblegum into greazy, rib-stickin' soul food. Despite the wide array of styles he works, the tune's flow together seamlessly, bringing both the tender and wild sides of Joseph into clear view.
"My goal for the album," he says, "was to introduce myself as a writer of songs and stories that come from a life spent around as many farms, no mean feat, he enlisted a seasoned and eclectic cast headed by groove-rich bassists T-Bone Wolk (Elvis Costello, Hall & Oates, Greg Brown) and Myron Dove (Santana, "Gatemouth" Brown), keyboard wizard Jon Carroll (Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rodney Crowell), ace multi-instrumentalist Duke Levine (Sleepy LaBeef, Peter Wolf) and an all-world tag-team of tub-thumpers - Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, John Fogerty), Dave Mattacks (Richard Thompson, Paul McCartney) and Levon Helm (The Band).
Joseph's knack for hosting parties where the most unlikely of guests end up old friends is equally evident in his live performances. "When the mood and venue is right, I can get off into some pretty funky extended grooves. Although I don't really know what a 'Jam Band' is, I know it shows that I spent a whole lot of time going to school on people like; Los Lobos, The Allman Brothers, and ...well, George Clinton and Talking Heads - for that matter.
Although I do love writing and singing ballads and sweet stuff, my group loves to go to that place where a kinda country-ish world view gets laid over groovy beats and gospel harmony. That music, with pretty girls and tasty things to eat, is my idea of a real good time!"
Like Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Delbert McClinton, and a select handful of others, he is a natural entertainer who effortlessly crosses over from acoustic to very electric settings. This has been in ample evidence in his performances this year; which have included opening slots for Los Lobos, Little Feat, and at Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival (in front of 20,000 people) as a guest artist with new friend and supporter Raitt -who has as many as four of his songs in consideration for her next album.
Essentially, a life filled with family and friends, good music and "high times" is all Emory Joseph has ever really wanted. These days; when his music is finally out there for the world to hear, he's working with people of whom he's been a fan of for years, and the phone has begun to ring with opportunities to be seen by more and more people, he says he is "the same guy, doing the same stuff I've always done, with maybe just a little more focus and steam behind it. Making a living creating music that matches who I am when I'm offstage is very, very satisfying. I like my shoes a lot."
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