“There's a yearning, freight-train-hopping, propulsive energy to many of their songs that suggests not only an indie-band road tour, but the road to one's true identity, a destination on a map still being written.”
- Sylvia Sukop, Huffingtion Post
California-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joe Stevens is a third-generation professional musician in a long line of restless westward moving souls. He caught the songwriting bug at 15 and has been at it ever since. After starting out as a self-taught guitar player and songwriter, he received a Bachelor of Music from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, and has been traveling with his music across the US and abroad.
Between 2006 and 2012 Joe's first band Coyote Grace released five well-loved albums and toured with the Indigo Girls, Melissa Ferrick, and Girlyman; sharing stages with Chris Pureka, Greensky Bluegrass, Reverend Payton's Big Damn Band, and legends such as Cris Williamson and Lowen and Navarro. They quickly gained a strong cult following in the Folk/Americana world, taught workshops at many colleges and universities around the country, and drove many a mile touring with their contemporaries and heroes.
Joe released his first solo album Last Man Standing in 2014, recorded in Seattle at Empty Sea Studios, co-produced with everything-man Michael Connolly. The album has a strong focus on word craft, with folk roots and old time sensibilities yet with subtly altered meters, progressions, and content, a work that is both alternative and traditional. A dark past and keen insight gives weight to Joe's words, sung in his signature smokey voice, telling the stories that make us who we are.
Albert Cashier was a Civil War soldier who was born female and lived his life as male in the late 1800's. In 2015 Joe began writing the songs for a musical based on Albert's life. The Civility of Albert Cashier is now in its third year of development, with readings in Chicago, Los Angeles, and most recently New York at the New York Musical Festival. The team had their opening run in Chicago in 2017, winning the Jeff Award for Best New Musical.
Songs of the People was birthed in 2014; a project where Joe writes songs based on interviews with willing folks. Creating a cohesive narrative of one’s life is a way to come to terms with the past, reintegrating an often times broken sense of self, and honoring the conditions that give rise to who we are is one of the gifts of art and songwriting. Many a wonderful song has come from this project, some of which can be found on Joe's Soundcloud page.
Joe's music rides the edge of the first wave of transgender performers to break through into the public consciousness. The social media explosion combined with shifting public opinion created the conditions that enabled trans and queer artists, a highly marginalized and isolated subculture, to connect and gain visibility. There is now a thriving community of trans and queer musicians, with new comers and folks who have been playing music all along, that is visible and growing in every corner of the world.
“Coyote Grace plays with the heart of traditional country and Americana music, but tells their stories with a bold twist. They write heart-wrenching melodies and make such textured harmonies that I find myself enraptured and taken by their timelessness of song.”
- Amy Ray (Indigo Girls)