American singer/songwriter, guitar and banjoman, 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 began his music career in 2006 as the main songwriter in the Alt-Americana group Coyote Grace. Between 2006 and 2012 Coyote Grace released five albums 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.
2014 saw the release of Joe’s first solo album Last Man Standing, recorded in Seattle at Empty Sea Studios, co-produced with Michael Connolly. Joe took this new project across the US, 43 shows in three months, a Big Damn Tour indeed. 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.
Songs of the People was also birthed in 2014; a project where Joe interviews folks and writes a song based on their experience. Creating a cohesive narrative of one’s life is a way to come to terms with the past, solidifying an often times broken sense of self, and honoring the conditions that gave rise to who we really are is one of the gifts of art and songwriting. The first Songs of the People Volume 1 is stated to be released in April of 2015.
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.
This live concert was originally broadcast June 17th, 2015 from Seattle's Empty Sea Studios.
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