Photo by Me
There’s something to be said about a solo folk performer who can command more attention with his voice and acoustic guitar than a full band. Watching Joseph Childress solo folk performance the other night was the single most captivating folk performance I have witnessed since I first saw Devendra Banhart live 4 years ago. The comparison is only in emotion and sincerity, something Childress is far from short on. Joseph Childress fleshes out his music and meaning in his songs with his vocals better than any myriad of instruments or backing musicians ever could. The type of voice that rattles your bones when you’re sitting two rows back, where you can’t wipe that smile off your face as you think how long you’ve waited to hear an artist that truly inspires you to pay attention to nothing else but their performance. If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard his name yet, give it time, I had only heard whispers of his name before I moved to San Francisco. The truth is, the only likely reason you haven’t heard him is because he doesn’t officially have an album out. You can get your first listen here as Joseph kindly lent me a demo of songs he recorded in closets, on the road over the years and passed out to friends along the way. The collection of 11 songs is some of the most inspiring music I have heard in some time. To fully absorb his music I truly believe you have to see him live. On the demos I was given I feel that Childress almost slightly holds back where live he unconsciously lets his voice further soar. That’s not to say the recorded songs are anything but phenomenal, only that live it’s well- make it to a show of his and you’ll see what I can’t put into words here. If I were forced name an artist or two who he reminds me of I’d say his vocals sound a bit like Jackson C. Frank at his best with some Dylan grit mixed in here and there. My plan is to post a few songs spread out over the next few days. The first track I want to post is called Animal.
Watch a video of him performing live at Wax Trax Record:
Visit his myspace page for other upcoming news: Joseph Childress @ Myspace