Black Joe Lewis
Black Joe Lewis is the realest motherfucker there is. When Covid sidelined his touring thispast year, he started laying concrete to help support his baby mama and his kid. That’sfuckin’ real. When Joe and his band, the Honeybears, popped onto the national stage over adecade ago, many critics embraced him but still, there were some that maintained that theyhadn’t paid their dues. Joe’s still here. Still going. Still cashing checks and snapping necks.The dues of hard work; the delirious heights of the industry as well as the disappointmentsand low hanging fruit. Through this all, Joe’s only honed his mastery over gut bucket bluesguitar and his true voice. It’s a vital and distinctly American voice that never anticipated theattention he wound up receiving, never went looking for it either. It just started happening.The garage, the blues, the propulsive and synergistic live performances that inhabit thespaces of James Brown, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and the MC5...those things happened naturallyfrom the very beginning and could only be accurately communicated in the live experience,not a press release or a slick brand campaign. Sharon Jones, Charles Bradley, Cedric Burnsideand Lightnin Malcolm, The Dirtbombs, Detroit Cobras, the Strange Boys; these are some ofthe artists that Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears shared countless bills with; almost a rollcall of the most influential soul and garage bands of the last twenty five years. Has the soulblues garage explosion from that era been commodified or worked into the overall templateof pop rock? Sure. But the ground floor was a vital space for people that like guitars andgrease and at this point Black Joe Lewis is one of the last standing that was there.Last of adying breed. Or maybe a missing link. Does this make him a throwback? A throwback to athrowback? It’d be tempting and easy for Joe to go along with that but nah, we don’t thinkso. We know that Joe Lewis is genuinely doing his thing and that he’d do it regardless ofwhat’s coming down the pipe. A stone cold original and a veteran at that. If you likewhistling in your music and some floppy hat, quaky kneed dudes cloyingly singing at you,then you might not “get it” but whatever...there are enough intrepid, degenerate weirdosthat do. Those are the folks Joe cares about. Not the glad handing set. Not the fair-weatherfriend set getting down with the flavor of the month. Like the title of his last album says,“the difference between me and you” is Joe defining for himself that there’s the belaboredwannabes and then there’s dudes that actually “HAVE the blues”...whatever the hell THATis! Joe’s concrete pouring boss is gonna miss him.