California-based singer/songwriter, guitar and banjo-man, Joe Stevens is a third-generation professional musician in a long line of restless westward moving souls. From his roots as an awkward kid with a debilitating stutter, through dark years of alcohol and drug addiction, Joe’s music touches on themes at once specific and ubiquitous, portraying the human condition distilled — where one person’s story is truly everyone’s story. A prolific writer, the muse began whispering at the age of fifteen and Joe has produced some untold thousands of songs and essays in his 32 years. Joe is the main songwriter in the Alt-Americana group Coyote Grace, who released five albums between 2006 and 2012 and toured with the Indigo Girls, Melissa Ferrick, and Girlyman; sharing stages with Chris Pureka, Greensky Bluegrass, Reverend Payton’s Big Damn Band, and legends such as Cris Williamson and Lowen and Navarro.
With the highly anticipated release of Last Man Standing, his first album under his own name, Stevens goes back out on the trail, criss-crossing the US from August through November. A seasoned road dog and performer, Joe is as much at home out in the wild public lands as on the concrete of the American urban jungles, from farmer’s markets to theater stages. Co-produced with Michael Connolly at Empty Sea Studios in Seattle WA, Last Man Standing combines Joe’s distinct songwriting – a strong focus on word craft, with folk roots and old time sensibilities yet with subtly altered meters, progressions, and content – and Michael’s multi-instrumentalist and technical skills – creating a genre-bending mix of folk, indie-rock, and neo-soul that is both alternative and traditional. A dark past and keen insight gives weight to Joe’s words, sung in his signature smokey voice, telling the stories that are his contribution to the treasury of North American Roots music.
Joe’s music rides the edge of the first wave of transgender performers to break through into the public consciousness. The social media explosion combined with shifting public opinion created the conditions that enabled trans and queer artists, a highly marginalized and often isolated subculture, to connect and gain visibility throughout the world. Joe performs and gives workshops on songwriting and queer/trans issues at colleges and universities and is a social justice activist for underdogs of all stripes, committed to honoring their vital contributions to the greater collective evolution.
Broadcast live from Empty Sea Studios, October 22nd, 2014
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