I’ve been writing songs and gigging most of my life from Toronto to Vancouver to England to L.A. to Nashville and a million places in between. My songs have been #1 hits on Billboard and placed on TV shows and film. I can’t seem to stop doing this. As friend said to me recently, “I don’t have a choice”. I will do this until they carry me away in a box. Over the years I've gigged with and opened for some pretty cool people. Warren Zevon, John Cale, John Hammond, Jane Siberry and so many different recording acts. I've busked on the London underground and on the streets of Toronto and Vancouver, played for thousands of people at concert venues, toured as a solo, duo, trio and full band for years on the road, done live TV gigs and got to play in some cool venues like CBGB's, The Marquee, The El Mocambo, The Rivoli, The Commodore Ballroom and on and on. Basically I started playing and writing at 15 and haven't stopped and probably never will.
You can find my songs on my new album, 'Planet', located on various sites like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. I hope you get a chance to check it out. I also hope to be gigging in a place near you at some time or another.
It's pretty hard to sit down and write an objective summary of 'music' especially when 'music' is basically a part of my body. Like my right arm. How do I write about my right arm? Yeah, I like it, it's useful. I use it a lot. Music is as much a part of me as anything except, perhaps, it's an ethereal component, something that you can't see if I'm walking down the street. I've been in the studio most of my life and have recorded in so many different ways but I find that now I am quite happy to record and perform my songs in the same simple and stripped down way that they were created. Just me singing with an acoustic guitar. When music is laid bare like that it really has to stand on its own merits, the story it tells has to be strong enough to be by itself out in the open. So many of my songs are narratives, stories of people and everyday scenarios, and I've often been told that my music is very 'filmic'. When I perform I try to re-enact the story that I am telling and this means that I don't always tie myself down to a straight tempo. My songs will slow down to a whisper, a crawl, and then build. Just like the way things sometimes happen in real life. When I do this I want to bring the audience along with me, to get lost in the story I am telling.
And that's what I think music really is all about, a chance to lose yourself for a little while or to find yourself in the words and emotions of a song.
I’ve been writing and performing songs for years now and it’s great to finally put some of them onto an album. Some of these songs, like ‘Garden Maze’ and ‘One Step Into Mine’ go back to when I was first learning to play guitar and was taking the first steps as a writer. ‘Flowers’ and ‘You Will Know Why Birds Fly’ are examples of more recent work but, as any songwriter will tell you, there are always new things coming along. ‘Titanic’ is something I wrote while living in Edmonton that seems as new to me now as the day I wrote it while ‘Planet’ seems like a song that always existed and that I was lucky enough to have it come to life through me. I’ve had some success as a songwriter for other artists and, while pitching songs, I remember sitting in the ASCAP office in Nashville and having the guy there ask me to play ‘Leaves’ for him over and over. Nashville holds a special place in my heart. I’ve written songs that are very important to me when I’ve been there. ‘It Ain’t Love’ is a very Nashville song to me. ‘Sweet Love’ really did come to me in a dream and it wound up being used by my little sister at her wedding, probably the biggest compliment I could ever get for a song. I wrote ‘Something Simple’ with Adam Mitchell in his house on a beautiful summer’s day. ‘Mistaken For A Crown’, the only track with piano on it, was written when I was signed to BBC Publishing. ‘Pottery Love’ happened on a ferry ride back to Vancouver from Salt Spring Island one spring morning while ‘I Hope The Moon Will Come Out Tonight’ came into being after I drove through an early morning blizzard. ‘Hey’ is something that came to me while living in a cabin on Quadra Island in B.C. while ‘I Want’, ‘Donna’s In The Bath Tonight’ and ‘You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are’ all came along at the same time in a flurry of writing I did while signed to Universal Music Publishing. I look at ‘I Can See The Lights Across The Harbour’ as my Vancouver song and it reminds me of the beauty of that place and the kind of person I was when I wrote it. All of these songs are one-take live performances. I also added three very short piano pieces called 'Venus', 'Neptune' and 'Saturn' to introduce three sections of six songs each. I wanted to just turn the microphone on and do an album that was authentic and vulnerable, the kind of record that used to be made before any kind of modern recording techniques were around. I think I managed to do that. I hope you like these songs. They are a huge part of me and I’m really grateful to get the chance to share them with you.
If you want to reach Joel feel free to contact him here.