|Sideman? Yes, Joe considers himself a perennial sideman, having spent his long career as a member of many bands and the guy backing up a ton of very talented people. But wait a minute, this guy not only plays the steel guitar of all types, harmonica and a goofy percussion thing he calls the “kitchen sink”, but he sings, too. And all of it, from the heart. As someone in the audience once yelled out, “Joe’s got soul.”
He’s played locally and regionally with many bands as well as recording for other artists and radio/TV commercials, and as a guest on the Prairie Home Companion radio show. As a member of the Midwest Country Theatre band, he’s performed with legendary country singers such as the late Hank Thompson, Margo Smith, Rex Allen, Jr., Jean Shepard, Jeannie Seely, Stonewall Jackson, Jim Ed Brown, David Frizzell, Wanda Jackson, Narvel Felts, Tommy Cash. He’s worked with Peter Ostroushko, the late Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman, and sat in with Bonnie Raitt. Whew! And recorded with: Keith Secola, Tina & the B-Sides, Brothers Frantzich, Alison Rae, Dan Wilson, Mike Doughty, Chuck Suchy, Andra Suchy, Tim O’Reagan, Candice Graham, Mary Sue Englund, Vibro Champs, Joanna Jahn, Honeydogs, Chad Whittaker, John Gorka, Tim Mahoney, Joey Molland, and on and on… He has performed with electronic ensembles for modern dance performances, as solo accompaniment to storytellers, with R&B and funk dance bands, and with Native American artists, including the opening ceremony for the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC in 2005. Joe has been recognized by his peers with two Minnesota Music Awards and with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minnesota Rock/Country Hall of Fame.
Although he often performs and composes Americana, Roots Music, and country styles, he is constantly exploring new ways to combine his principal instrument, the pedal steel, with different genres and instrumental settings.
In addition to being a multifaceted musician, Joe is also an award winning Native American quillworker and is proud to be a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe. He lives joyfully in St. Paul with his wife, Jeanne.
Not too bad, for a sideman!