Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Joe Purdy

Two weeks ago was my older sister's birthday. I was wracking by brain for an appropriate gift for her, when fate (or a fortuitous email) let me know that Joe Purdy would be playing in Des Moines. I found Joe years ago and have managed to hook almost everyone on his music. Including my sister. So I ran out the very next day and bought four tickets. Three for for me. And I don't remember the last time a present worked so well in my favor. Or hers. She was a bit excited.

The concert was this past Sunday. Joe was playing down at the Vaudeville Mews, a tiny little theater right off Court Avenue. My older sister, her fiancee, my younger sister, her boyfriend, and Jeff and I met downtown for dinner early Sunday night. I've been wanting to try this odd pizza place called Fong's Pizza. We started with a drink at the Royal Mile and when our table was ready headed over to Fong's for some interesting pizza combinations. And it was tasty. Then my sisters, my older sister's fiancee, and I headed across the street to the Mews.

The Vaudeville Mews is so small that we were easily within a couple feet of the stage. I spent the entire concert with only three people between me and the performers. I love tiny venues. The show was opened by The Milk Carton Kids who were quite good. They not only opened the show but they ended up playing most of the night with Joe as well.

Joe Purdy is an indie artist that I would say is a cross between folk and country. He's even got a touch of blues mixed in. He doesn't have a publicist or a producer. He doesn't have any real marketing or a record contract. He self releases all of his albums and his fame gets around by word of mouth. And judging from the number of people at the concert, it's getting around quite well. We met one of my friends there who is also a big fan although I didn't introduce her. He's starting to develop a following, and with good reason. He's that good. Although his songs being chosen as a theme song for the show Lost and for various commercials doesn't hurt though.

Joe writes the kind of lyrics that I wish I'd written. They are sad but touching. And his music is just the right mix of blues and folk. If you haven't been introduced to his music there's an easy way to listen. Head over to his website. He puts the full songs on his site for free. I've listened to most of his music there. And then bought more than my fair share. I'd start with anything from Julie Blue or The City from Only Four Seasons. My current favorite song of his is Secret from You Can Tell Georgia. But so far I haven't found a song of his that I don't like. I've already bought his new album. And he has quite a few albums to choose from. I know I'm biased but I'd say that he is well worth a listen. And was well worth the concert tickets. It was a great evening.

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