How does one judge a songwriter? Music hath power to sooth the savage ear yet is a pretty damn subjective experience. If we all agreed on what constitutes greatness you could simply count the number of friends or hits on a given Facebook account and let the weight of numbers tell the tale. Qualities like “soul” or “insight” may prove a bit more elusive. His life both in and out of the “business” has given Joe New a perspective resulting in a body of work that has caught the attention of many celebrated recording artists and if you choose to explore the source, the songs and voice of the man himself- read on, you’ve come this far.
That now rather hackneyed term, Americana, was invented to loosely describe the kind of traditionally based music made, for years, by Joe and lots of others, which falls between the cracks of marketing categories invented by industry bean counters with an eye to creating the “next big thing”. None the less, the craft and practice of songwriting has allowed him to see his songs recorded or performed by artists such as John Mellencamp, Levon Helm, Kiki Dee, Joe Louis Walker, Bill Kirchen, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Bob Neuwirth, Paul Carrick and Nick Lowe, Squeeze, Johnny Rivers, The Moonlighters and, most recently, covers on two Del McCoury Band cds – one song achieving cable video status. Joe New’s songs reflect both his rural childhood and struggle to come to terms with the conflicting pulls of life, love, work, family, the quest for fame, the lure of bright lights and the need to escape the madding crowd. He has a large catalog of recorded material stumbling it’s way to the market place. His singing doesn’t suck.