Jerry Joseph has worn a lot of hats over more than three decades in the music trenches – righteous rocker, hyper-observant cultural observer, spiritual & political firebrand, force of nature live performer – but the bedrock of what he does has always been songwriting of the highest caliber. Joseph is a kindred tunesmith to sharp, craftsmanship minded pros like Elvis Costello, Warren Zevon and Nick Lowe, where the resoundingly sturdy bones inside their compositions shape things no matter what’s draped over them. It’s a dedication to fundamentals and classic singer-songwriter standards that’s increasingly rare and welcome in a music environment that emphasizes texture and mood over substance.
On Monday, Oct 19th, Joseph will take the Maple Leaf stage with his band, the Jackmormons. The band is the latest chapter in his long, strange musical journey that flows like glowing quicksilver through the modern psyche, where war and disaster wrestle with hope and faith.
Joseph first came to prominence in the mid-1980s with still-beloved cult band Little Women, a reggae-rock proto-jam band that dominated the Rocky Mountain club scene for nearly a decade, and notably helped break jam giants Widespread Panic, who looked up to Joseph and opened for his band before rising to prominence. To this day, many of Panic’s favorite concert staples were written by Jerry Joseph, including such blazing epics as “North,” “Chainsaw City” and “Climb to Safety.” Today, Joseph neatly describes Little Women as “a mash-up of Burning Spear and the Grateful Dead dressed up like the New York Dolls.”