WELCOME TO THE SOUL OF JOE STARK and the soul of a musician is clearly revealed by this Louisiana born artist just rising up to greet the world of rock and roll. The bluesy renderings of his guitar licks and intimate vocal style belie his youth. Through ambition, support of family and integrity to his music he is quickly earning the respect from music icons all over. The local following he has gathered over the past several years is rapidly growing as word spreads about his unmitigated talents as a phenomenal guitarist/songwriter and live performer.
Born in Houma on January 13, 1982, Joe's early introduction to music began at the age of 2 when he received a drum set. "My parents didn't know what to get me for my birthday; being so close to Christmas, so they bought me some drums to bang on," he laughed. With instruments readily available, "My dad always kept guitars laying around the house," Joe comes by his musical abilities naturally. His father plays piano and his mother was a proficient enough singer to be offered music scholarships from several colleges. Their support has been the backbone of Joe's ambition. By the age of 9, Joe was ready to move from the drums to the guitar. "It was cooler, lighter, I could move around with it more," he explained. Banging away on those drums instilled the deep rooted rhythm needed to become accomplished on the guitar. Eager and impatient to create, he immediately began writing his own songs. By the age of 12 he had a dozen songs written and self recorded a CD entitled "Just a Dozen", followed closely by the more well-known Skeyeboy.
Deeply influenced by artists such as Sting, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe's roots also lie within classic rockers and blues artists. "It was my dad's music but I grew up listening to it and it spans the generations." Stark convincingly wraps himself around
the various styles creating his own unique sound. "I'm intrigued with the blues, have respect for it and am influenced by it, as well as other styles of music, I use it all. I have to be honest with my music."
In 1995, he self produced another, more refined CD, Nokentroll and began gigging at small local clubs around the Houma area, developing a loyal following. Nokentroll contained a surprisingly intense tune called Welcome To My Soul that gained popularity
and was often requested in the local clubs. His songs offer a raw edge of diversified style seamlessly weaving classic rock, urban funk and soulful blues into a sound that is hard driven yet haunting and melodic.
The next several years were spent honing his skills and mesmerizing audiences in Florida, Louisiana and Alabama with his sizzling live performances. He has burned his mark into
the stages of such distinguished venues and festivals as The House of Blues in Orlando and New Orleans, the Bay Festival in Mobile and the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans.
Ready to turn up the flame a notch higher, Stark went back into the studio and recorded his latest CD. The self titled and self produced CD, Joe Stark, is the blazing result. Searingly provocative lyrics streaming behind hard driving, soulful, funked up blues and
rock melodies that again contradict this young man's youth. With songs like the sultry yet rockin', Comin' Down and R.L. Burnside flavored, Oh So Sad, to the power driven, gutsy tunes like Testify and Every Time I Breathe, melded with the evocative and melodic
strains of Weight of the World, Shadowbox and Black Pearl this cd is a compilation of bold and relentless energy powered by fervent guitar playing and passionate vocals.
Even at this early stage of his career, Joe is demonstrating his staying power. His music and lyrics are far more substantial than the typical flash-in-the-pan pop culture fluff. According to Charlie Brusco of Alliance Artists Ltd., "Joe is already more well rounded
than a lot of artists out there." He believes Stark has the ability to capture and keep the attention of both the contemporary and traditional audiences, which is rare in itself but exceptional in the case of someone so neoteric. Brusco added, "He's very accomplished for one so young, but what got to me was his live performance. He has an unabashed style on stage, he's not contrived and he really gets involved with the crowd. He has what it takes to build a following."
The word on Joe Stark has been spreading like wildfire throughout the music industry and local Louisiana and Southern audiences. Now Stark will be given the opportunity to set more of America ablaze when he hits the road on a 40 date tour, opening for Styx, Bad Co. and Billy Squire. Joe's fired up and ready to rock with the inextinguishable flame of a musician who plays and performs straight from his soul.
This review is copyright © 2001 by mj Librie, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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