A few years back, if someone had started giving him some lip in the middle of a gig, Joe Purdy might have left the stage and beat a little sense into the guy. Nowadays, he’s more likely to calm everybody down, assure the loudmouth that he was a welcome and important part of his audience and through words and warmth talk him into sitting back down and join everyone else in enjoying Purdy’s extraordinary music.
What has happened to Joe Purdy? Some might call it growth, although he’s already grown a lot in wandering from his Arkansas home state to Los Angeles, and from there toward and beyond further horizons. Along the way he’s recorded a baker’s dozen worth of albums. His songs have turned up on numerous TV shows and film soundtracks. He even received a special request from Pete Townshend to join him onstage. Purdy said yes.
Even so, in recent years the singer, songwriter and self-described “hillbilly” has come to see the world and his role in it somewhat differently. His new views chart the direction on his latest album, Who Will Be Next? which plants its feet deep in the tradition of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and others while addressing immediate transgressions.
Purdy’s determination to honor the giants of American folk while applying his unique skills as writer and passionate vocalist reveal just how much he has achieved and evolved as an observer and participant in our times. In addition to his recording and touring, Joe recently made his acting debut starring in the new feature film, American Folk, which won a Best New Film award at the Cleveland International Film Festival. It will be released nation-wide in 2018.
After leaving their home base of Virginia and living on the road for 2 years, Laura and Kagey now call Baltimore, Maryland home and it's where they wrote and recorded their fourth full-length album, Tangled Country, released May 2015. Acoustic Guitar Magazine describes the set of songs as “a handcrafted sound centered on swarming harmonies and acoustic guitars that churn like a paddlewheel and shimmer like heat waves on the highway.” And like their stage performance, these songs rock and reel, and then they console you when you come back down.
The Honey Dewdrops have a busy year ahead of them with a winter tour in the U.K. and the release of their 5th full-length album, Anyone Can See, out March 1st.
The Hembrees work tirelessly on many musical and creative pursuits. They are committed to others’ music as much as their own. They have found that the most satisfying path to longevity in the music business is to put others’ art in the spotlight or to inspire others’ to find their voice. They believe that the future of music is not winning the “me first” battle, but rather building community. They are founders and co-creators of the Fayetteville Roots Festival (Arkansas). They also spent a year (2017) with Austin-based international songwriting collaborative, House of Songs, to pilot House of Songs Ozarks in Bentonville, Arkansas. Bernice is also a music educator and has worked in private instruction, with the I’ll Fly Away Foundation’s songwriting program for elementary students, and to develop a music curriculum for the Fayetteville Montessori School. Bryan co-founded the Crooked Crow Songwriting Retreat for working songwriters with good friend and fellow musician, J Wagner.
Smokey & The Mirror release their 4th record, Here & Now, on March 15th, 2019.