Updated: Jul 17, 2019
I am home, and still high from one of the most impactful gigs I've ever done...
So much to say about the Static Roots Festival in Oberhausen, Germany.
Leading up to this weekend was very difficult as I was hit with one of the worst colitis flare ups I've had in over 8 years. It was debilitating, and I was basically bed ridden for two weeks debating whether or not my health would be stable enough to go to Europe. It came down to the last day where i made my decision that I was going to go, in hopes that the steroid medication I was on was going to kick in. Thankfully it did, and I was able to make this trip happen, and I am so so glad that I did!
Upon my arrival, I was picked up at the train station in Cologne, Germany by my Winnipeg friend Jeff Robson (radio host of "tell the band to go home" ) and Static Roots festival director Dietmar Liebecke who I hadn't met yet until then. I was very loopy, jet legged and tired. We went back to Dietmar's home and I slept off the shakes as best as I could in preparation for the festival which was starting the next day.
July 12th 2019.
First day of Static Roots Festival. The first discovery of the day was John Blek, a stunning singer and lyricist from Cork. He blew me away with his softness and ability to engage the crowd with his wit and chilling melodies... everyone knows how much I appreciate a sad song, John had a couple killers.
Next was John Murry, this guy freaked me out man, it was the most pure art form I've seen on stage in a long time. I was immediately transfixed on the guy, and I'm sure my jaw was touching the floor. This is a guy I aspire to write like, brave and real. In his 3rd or 4th number he had a lyric that went something like this "... time just reminds me of who I used to be..." and for some reason, in that moment I was overcome by some force of nature or some wave of consciousness, I like to call it "the songwriting gods are speaking to me"... I was compelled to run back to the hotel, where I picked up my guitar and instantly wrote a song based on that line from John Murry. It flowed through me like ink or butter, there was no holding it back. John Murry had so much power seeping through his music, it pierced me.
Friday was a beautiful day of music and discovery, by the end of all the shows I was pretty wiped out, went back to the hotel and tried to sleep, but once again had trouble finding it. I think I was excited for my set on Saturday and was running through songs in my head and what kind of set I wanted to play. I ended up laying awake most of the night, in wonder and anticipation.
July 13, 2019.
Saturday is a day I will always remember. I got down to the festival site around 1pm, my set was scheduled for 3pm. I watched a bit of the first two acts of the day. One being Ags Connolly, who had a showstopper song called Slow Burner, it was subtle but perfect. To be honest, I was so exhausted leading up to my set, I just chilled out in the green room, with my legs stretched out on the chair and closed my eyes. When the time came for me to go up, I did some jumping jacks in the back side stage and then Jeff Robson who was mc'ing the festival introduced me to the stage. I started out with a fairly new song "Sweet Cool Paradise" and then trickled into some tunes off of my album... I was nervous and had the shakes. 3 songs in I had a moment with myself, an internal conversation, and I looked up to the rafters in the ceiling, except i saw the sky, and it was like a light was coming down, hitting the everything in it's path. I spoke to myself, and said "Joe you're here, you're here in Germany, sharing your songs, keep going, keep going, look where you are!" This experience is hard to explain, and it lasted less than a second.. and after that I don't remember much of my set, I rarely do at shows like this where some greater energy just takes over and you have to let it through and help you steer. It was one of the highlights of my life playing to the Static Roots crowd on Saturday afternoon. I had more people come up to me after show then I've ever had before, telling me that my songs made them cry. This experience gave me a new sense of gratitude, and reassurance that I'm living my purpose. After I got off stage my new friend Dietmar was there with tears in his eyes and we both started to cry, and as we hugged each other i felt the bond of an angel.
I don't want to go on forever, but I want to echo my thank you's to the people that stand behind music for the right reasons, where the art comes first. To Dietmar and Marion for building a beautiful community of love, togetherness and rock n roll. To Jeff Robson for playing my album Tornado 7 years ago on "Tell the band to go home" so it could get to the ears of Dietmar. I keep learning everyday about connections, streams of energy and the undeniable strength and healing ability of song. I am high right now and very blessed to have travelled to Static Roots Festival to share my songs. To all of my new friends I met and spoke with on this trip, thank you for sharing your hearts.
I'm back in Canada and have lots of catch up work to do, looking forward to performing at Wild Mountain Festival in Hinton this weekend. I will be on right before Colin James!
For now, just want to say I love you all, keep riding the waves you're on, and keep rock'n the roll.