Monday, May 19, 2008

Artist to Watch: Joe Purdy


I was searching my brain for something uber-fantastico to post on today and I ended up going through some of our old posts in the process. It seems I made a promise to give you guys some more Joe Purdy a few months ago and never came through.

My apologies, I'm not quite certain how Joe slipped through the cracks. He's solidified his place on my playlists but somehow I neglected to pass on the good word. Well, never fear - here's the promised post on Joe - enjoy!


In today's fast paced world the music industry has shown time and again that they simply can't keep up with the needs of a true artist. The old model is broken. It used to be that it took 2-3 years for an artist to write, record, produce and release an album. It made sense - the label needed to make sure each album was up to their standards, they needed plenty of time to send out pre-releases to critics, drum up some advertising and stroke the hype machine, plan the tour etc.

Now, in today's world, a band like Nine Inch Nails can release an album for free with no label, start their tour and create their own hype. Who needs a label now? What good will a label do an artist when they end up limiting output so as not to "over-saturate" the public. These are probably the thoughts that Joe Purdy had going through his head when he started making noise back in 2001.

Well, let's look at Joe now. In 7 years Joe has released 9 albums, toured around the country as part of the Hotel Cafe Tour while also having a number of his songs land in TV spots and commercials, all of which which has helped to turn him into one of the top selling artists on iTunes. All of this with no label, no constraints - just Joe calling the shots.

You might only hear about Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and The Raconteurs when people start talking about the "new model" for the music industry - and rightfully so. These are the big name bands that are using their influence to push the RIAA into a realm they don't even want to admit exists. The thing you have to remember is that Joe Purdy is the one who's living and breathing the new model. Very few artists have been able to combine the success Joe has garnered through his TV spots and his digital downloads all without the support of a label through any portion of his career. He is proving that, with the advent of the internet, an independent artist simply doesn't need a label anymore.

True, Joe hasn't quite "broken out" yet. If you drop Joe Purdy's name in casual conversation, overwhelming majority of the US population will still give you that "what-the-hell-are-you-talking-about?" face. The thing is, these same people will recognize some of Joe's work once they hear it - they probably just don't know the name attached to the voice. It's a shame really, the only thing Joe really needs to break out is to have Kia put his name at the end of their commercial.

That's not to say that Joe's TV spots haven't benefited him. Some people are still finding out who he is by themselves, but only the truly motivated will go to that trouble...and how many truly motivated people do you know? Yeah, that's what I thought.

As far as Joe's music goes, it's best described as "folk". He fits into that whole singer-songwriter vibe they have going on in the Hotel Cafe. Not surprisingly, he's toured on the Hotel Cafe Tour a few times. If you dig the WAZ I posted earlier, or if you're into Cary Brothers and his gang of soul-baring acoustic singer-songwriters, then Joe Purdy is right up your alley.

In fact, I'd be willing to bet that you already do love him - you just don't know it yet. Here's a copule of Joe's more famous TV spots. You've probably seen at least one of 'em. God knows that Kia commercial is still getting mad play.

Wash Away (Lost - Season 1)



Any "Lostie" will remember this moment.

Can't Get It Right Today (Kia Spectra Commercial)



...and here's the piano side of Joe.

Those are the two "big" moments that Joe Purdy has had on TV. He's had several songs (The City, Suitcase, I Love the Rain the Most, San Jose and the previously mentioned Can't Get It Right Today) featured on Grey's Anatomy throughout the past few years as well. He also had one song on featured on House M.D.

There's clearly talent here. If not, I'd doubt that ABC would keep knocking on his door. As far as his albums go, I'd highly recommend Julie Blue and Paris in the Morning. I've been listening through all of his albums over the past few months and those two stick out as his best. From front to back I have a tough time finding a song I'll skip from those two. I can't really pick one that I dislike though, so you can't go wrong with any of them.

I've spent a good deal of time today mulling over which tracks to post. Ultimately I decided to post a few that you probably haven't heard - so no Wash Away or Can't Get it Right Today. You can decide whether you like his "hits" based on the Youtube vids. My purpose is to dig a bit deeper to really motivate you to go out and snatch up his entire discography.

[mp3] Look At You Now

This one comes from Only Four Seasons, another one of Joe's fantastic outings. It's got a bit more of an edge to it than the folky side that you'll hear on the TV.

[mp3] Ode To Sad Clown

Ah, I've somehow managed to pick two songs from two albums that I didn't recommend. Oh, the irony. This one comes from You Can Tell Georgia. A little more bluesy and a little bit rock 'n roll.

Joe has a new album coming out soon (well, probably) called Last Clock on the Wall. Rumor also has it that he'll have another album out soon after that one called Burn Down Alaska. Hopefully these come our way soon - one can never have enough Joe Purdy. I'll keep my ear to the ground. As soon as I hear some rumblin' I'll let send it your way.


Buy some music by Joe Purdy:
Amazon | iTunes
Visit Joe on the web: Official | Myspace

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

You picked one of my favourite artists to do an update on today. Thank you for keeping your promise to revisit what I consider an American icon (or one well on his way to becoming one) in folk music.

Anonymous said...

I'd not heard of Joe Purdy before today when author Jacqueline Carey's blog mentioned him at the same time as a Canadian musician I love, Allison Crowe. Joe, like Allison, is a very successful independent musician. It's a great thing that the internet makes it possible today. I'm looking forward now to hearing his music.

Joy said...

I am one of those "highly motivated" persons who immediately, upon hearing "Can't Get It Right Today," did a google on the lyrics and discovered Joe Purdy. I love, love, this artist and his sound. I won't be buying a new car but I sure did buy "You Can Tell Georgia." Then I bought "Paris in the Morning" because of my personal favorite, "Easier." Yummy yummy. Thanks for the article.

Anonymous said...

like Joy said: i immediatly googled what song that was on lost epi 3, Wash away, still one of my fav songs. nowadays joe's my favorite artist! all of his albums are great, i never could pick a favorite joe song. its even hard to choose your favorite album from him. mine is Julie Blue but its close with like 8 others :P

Sussie said...

Guess I was one of those 'highly motivated' people too, who heard Joe's track on Lost (but not until 2006, which is when I first saw it on DVD) and wanted to know more of this artist. Every now and then you hear something that you just know is special, and from finding out more about Wash Away, to getting Julie Blue and Stomping Grounds sent to me in the UK from CD Baby, to using iTunes to get another couple of Joe's albums today, Joe's music has moved higher and higher up my 'must play' list. On one hand, I wish more people were aware of Joe and his soul-satisfying music, but on the other I have a greedy streak that makes me want to keep something this good all to myself!

Sussie said...

Guess I was one of those 'highly motivated' people too, who heard Joe's track on Lost (but not until 2006, which is when I first saw it on DVD) and wanted to know more of this artist. Every now and then you hear something that you just know is special, and from finding out more about Wash Away, to getting Julie Blue and Stomping Grounds sent to me in the UK from CD Baby, to using iTunes to get another couple of Joe's albums today, Joe's music has moved higher and higher up my 'must play' list. On one hand, I wish more people were aware of Joe and his soul-satisfying music, but on the other I have a greedy streak that makes me want to keep something this good all to myself!

Mike said...

If you like Joe Purdy you need to check out Phil Ayoub. Providence rocker Phil Ayoub has some new music on the way. Titled “Arrivals and Departures”, the record will be released in the next month or so. In the meantime, visit Phil’s website and check out the song “Flowers at Work”. One hundred percent of the proceeds of the digital download sales went to the American Red Cross to aid victims of this years earthquake in Haiti. Check out more at illuminarecords.com

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