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Check out the merchandise page for info on Joe’s latest album, “Starless”!!
NEW NEWS: Over the 2017-2018 winter, Joe and Nancy will be recording a new album. Stay tuned!!
Here’s an interview that Joe did for “Starless”:
Q. Joe, so it’s been over ten years since your last recorded release?
J.H. Yes… unfortunately! (laughs) A lot has happened in my life!
Q. Like what?
J.H. Well, about ten years ago, I was writing songs for a new album while my wife was pregnant with twins. I thought I had nine months of peace and quiet to work on the music. But that didn’t happen. Our children were born almost four months early, so that kind of put an end to that musical plan. Our daughter, Violet, only survived for three days —
Q. I’m sorry to hear that!
J.H. Thank you. Well, our son was so tiny and sick when he was born. My wife and I pretty much just worked, slept, and visited with him at the hospital for three and a half months, commuting back and forth. Then when he was well enough to come home, we spent a year just trying to keep him from catching a cold, which could have been very dangerous for him. He also needed all kinds of special care and classes to help him develop, both mentally as well as physically. But he’s great, now.
Q. Wow. That must have been crazy!
J.H. It was!
Q. How big was he when he was born?
J.H. He was just over a pound and a half when he was born, but after a couple of days, he dropped to a pound and a quarter.
Q. Again, wow.
J.H. So, needless to say, for a few years I didn’t have much time to work on any musical projects. And I really just didn’t have the emotional energy. It’s pretty tough to get into a creative state of mind when your thoughts are elsewhere.
Q. I’ll bet. But you got back into music, obviously?
J.H. Yes. During the past ten years, we moved, had a daughter (incident free!), and all the while I was getting back into music, but mostly just performing. I love to play and performing was a great way to keep myself sane, so to speak!
Q. Did any of this impact your new CD?
J.H. It sure did! I’ve always been a fan of “concept” albums. Not so much the “rock opera” thing with a story line and all that, but I think an album should have some sort of overall theme or reason for being rather than just a collection of random, unassociated songs.
Q. So, what’s the “concept” with “Starless”?
J.H. I started thinking about the last ten years and how my life has changed so much. But when I try to write about happy stuff, it always sounds hokey. And everyone can relate to bad stuff, it seems! So, the songs that I ended up writing were about loss. I really warmed to that lyrical concept because who hasn’t experienced loss? A job, a loved one, a breakup… a favorite pair of shoes! It’s universal. The songs are about a lot of different things, not just my daughter, Violet, and I think the lyrics are ambiguous enough for people to really loose themselves in the songs, if you know what I mean. I’ve always liked songs that were vague enough so that I, as the listener, could read into them whatever I wanted to.
Q. Sadly, loss seems like something you know a lot about!
J.H. Well, everyone does, right? But I think what my wife and I went through really helped to make the songs as emotionally revealing as they ended up. And people can always relate to something that’s so starkly emotional. I mean, “Ticket to Ride” is a great song, but that album also had “Yesterday” on it. Need I say more? And I’m just not a “yeah, yeah, yeah, party time” kind of guy anyway!
Q. Listening to the songs, many of them don’t sound sad. They’re quite catchy.
J.H. Thanks. I didn’t want to make a dark, brooding record. I love The Beatles, Elton John, Cheap Trick… lots of great pop rock and roll. So, that facet of my playing and writing really came out with this. Also, it would have been so easy for me to just go with the “progressive hard rock/metal” thing, and I wanted to challenge myself. It’s been over ten years! I wanted to really push myself into new musical territory.
Q. Well, the CD is awesome! There isn’t a dud on it!
J.H. (laughs) Thank you! I tried! I’m very happy with how it came out. And there’s no way I could have done it without Penny Larson who played the drums, Sarah Gardner’s astounding vocal interpretations of my lyrics, and Art Ellis’ recording and engineering expertise.
Q. It sounds great! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
J.H. Oh, thank you! It was my pleasure.