Midwestern roots run deep for artist Joe Stamm
The Joe Stamm Band took the main stage on Sunday night, performing to a crowd of several hundred people at the Kewanee Hog Days Festival. With the exception of 2020, when the festival was canceled, their performance marks the second year in a row that Joe Stamm has been invited to return – a rare invitation from members of the Hog Days Committee who typically avoid booking the same groups for years. consecutive.
Just over five years ago, Joe Stamm was working as a director of a monument business when he made the decision to devote himself full time to music.
“I was in my mid-thirties and felt like if I was going to make the transition, I had better do it ASAP,” Stamm said in a phone interview from his home in the south. by Lacon.
Now leader of the Joe Stamm Band, Stamm is “a musician who works all year round” and spends his time writing songs, touring and recording his music.
The Joe Stamm Band was officially formed in 2013 and their website describes the band’s offerings as a separate narrative with a “black earth country rock sound”, connecting “the land to the fields, to the fences, to the red tailed hawks” , as well as a nod to their Midwestern roots and the âred dirt music sceneâ of Texas and Oklahoma.
Although Stamm is reluctant to label the band’s style, âthe music is definitely ‘country rock-centric’.
âAgain, this shows how vague and fuzzy the lines of the genre are,â Stamm said. “I never intentionally made a sound.”
Instead, his music comes more organically from the decisions he makes in the studio, as well as his musical tastes that shape the sound of the band. The songs, he said, “just come out the way they come out.”
Among his musical influences, he cites Creedence Clearwater Revival, a George Jones period, and Kentucky singer / songwriter Chris Knight, whom he has opened several times.
âWhat I’m trying to emphasize are strong lyrics and storytelling,â Stamm said. âCreedence is a good example of beautiful words set to music. ”
Stamm addressed issues such as COVID, with his song âGoodbye Johnâ and his college studies in Biblical Literature heavily influenced his song and the following video, âThe Good and Crooked (& the High & the Horny)â in which he takes an âironicâ approach to the westernized and Americanized portrayal of Jesus. In the video, Stamm appears as Jesus, who he admits was rejected by his fans.
âThere has been negative feedback,â Stamm said. âBut I didn’t take it too seriously,â adding that part of musical creation pushes the boundaries.
Born in Peoria, Stamm grew up just east of there and remembers his first vivid memory of music as a child singing the theme song “Aladdin” in his basement bedroom. This rather public performance would be the last for many years after his sister climbed up the stairs to tease him. It wasn’t until Stamm took a music course in college that he learned to play the guitar.
After receiving a full scholarship to play football for Northern Illinois University, Stamm was sidelined by a high school football injury and then completed his education at a small college in Indiana.
Stamm’s story is that of the Midwest, and his goal has been to uncover “relatable stories” that are the common threads of Midwestern life.
âThe music that I write is very much engrained with blue collar workers in the Midwest and rural areas,â he said.
With songs such as “Crow Creek”, “Midwest Town”, “Empty Places” and the somewhat autobiographical “Midwestern Gentleman”, Stamm hopes to connect with his audience.
At Kewanee’s concert, the Joe Stamm Band performed original music interspersed with covers from artists such as Eddie Rabbitt and Blackhawk.
Sunday’s performance wasn’t even the second time the group had appeared in front of Kewanee’s audience. During the group’s performance this weekend, Stamm told the crowd that the group had performed in the alley behind Cerno’s Bar and Grill several times.
âIt’s always a good stop when we get there,â Stamm said of Kewanee. âWe have always been well received and the people are nice.
Stamm said he thinks he connects with Kewanee’s audience not only because he’s a regional artist, often performing at festivals and venues in the region, but also because people can see each other. or see himself in his words.
âHe grew up in the Midwest,â he said. âHe informs everything I do. “
The band’s latest album, “Midwest Town”, will be released on September 10th.