Celebrated singer/songwriter, Joe Purdy is more aptly described as a troubadour—the term, as archaic as it may seem, refers moreover to the idea of a communicator of folklore through song– one who travels and tells stories using the effective medium of music. Purdy understands that his own live music tradition, has as much to do with commanding captivated, pin-drop silence as it does prompting roars, (which it most definitely has), because in those hushed moments, a solemn and crystal-clear voice, the resonance of acoustic guitar strings into the reverberant din of a music hall, his stories are being heard. It is a pure experience, untouched and untied to any racket or industry. It’s about Joe and his audience.
This direct communication with his fans has, year after year, album after album, translated from the stage to the further dissemination of his folklore. Purdy has chosen to release his albums on his own independent label, Mudtown Crier Records, and with the help of national TV placements and that constant conversation with a strong and ever- growing fan base, he has been able to sell a staggering 1 million direct track downloads in the US on iTunes without ever signing to a label. No bullshit– just Joe and those people, all over the country (and beyond) perpetually willing to hear his stories.
Case in point, he released his 11th album 4th of July on the 28th of June 2010 at four o’clock in the morning, because that’s when he finished it.
Joe’s writing process is heavily influenced by his environment. His albums act as a travel guide for his experiences. Last Clock On The Wall (2009) was recorded over 6 days at Old Mill Studios, located in a 17th Century mill converted into a live arts theater in Strathaven, just outside of Glasgow, Scotland. Take My Blanket and Go (2007) was recorded in NYC following a UK tour in 2006, You Can Tell Georgia (2006) was recorded outside of London, immediately following a European tour with Tom McRae, while Paris in the Morning (2006) was recorded during a short visit to Paris a few months later. And, in contrast, Canyon Joe (2007) was recorded at his home in California, after being stranded in New Mexico during a blizzard over New Years Eve.
Now, proving a perfect cohort for 4th Of July, released only an odd 6 months prior, Purdy prolifically follows with This American- a spanking new full length providing songs rich with imagery, haunting and utterly unique, filled with warm American folklore
and real storytelling. Reflections of moving about underscore more of the ‘travelogue’ motif (“Highways,” “Oregon Trail”), through plaintive acoustic arrangements perfectly appropriate- with audible count-offs, unedited breaths, whistling, etc… and truly top-shelf lyrics and melodies channeled through Purdy’s distinctive yearning voice.
On the first of 2 sold out nights in Lower Manhattan’s City Winery venue last December, Purdy surprised and delighted fans when his manager
Brian Klein informed the audience that he had secretly made a record in New Mexico the week before. Not only did Purdy perform This American in its entirety live that evening, but fans were also informed that the brand new 15-song album would be free for the holidays! What they got was classic Joe Purdy. Over 23,000 copies of This American were downloaded in the first 30 days.
Adding to his arsenal, Purdy has been embraced by a broader audience through Prime Time network television. His song “Wash Away (Reprise),” from the Julie Blue album, was chosen by J.J. Abrams for an episode of ABC’s smash hit Lost in its first season. Shortly after, Joe’s, “I Love the Rain Most” (also off Julie Blue) was featured in an episode of that same network’s Grey’s Anatomy, which led to “The City (Only Four Seasons)” being included in the show, as well as on the Grey’s Anatomy Season I soundtrack which sold over 150,000 units. Additionally, Purdy landed five more songs in Grey’s… episodes including “San Jose” (Take My Blanket and Go),” “Suitcase” (Only Four Seasons), “Can’t Get It Right Today” (You Can Tell Georgia), and “Rainy Day Lament” (Stomping Grounds), which was featured on an episode of the Fox hit, House. “Can’t Get It Right Today” was also featured in a new KIA ad that ran nationally. And “Wash Away (Reprise)” was very notably used in a Dawn Soap Wildlife ad, helping raise thousands to rescue wildlife and the gulf spill clean up.