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Joe Ely


I don’t count myself as a fan of country music. From time to time I hear something that strikes my fancy which leaves my trying to reconcile my love of the music with  my bias against the genre. I usually justify it by classifying the music as “roots”, “folk” “bluegrass” or some other sub-genre that helps me avoid the possible trust that I might actually like country music.

My most recent brush with my denial came with a listening of Joe Ely’s album “Satisfied at Last”. In this case, I’ve abided by my “No Country” rule because Ely’s career spans a number of genre’s and he sang back-up with The Clash on “Should I Stay or Should I Go” (he’s the guy that yelled “Split!”). I’ve never listened to his stuff before, and I’m glad that I finally took the plunge.

The opening track grabbed me as being faintly reminiscent of Chris Rea mingled with a tinge of Steve Earle. I don’t know if it will make its way into my regular rotation, although I am really enjoying the album. It feels fresh and best of all, real. I’ll see how it feels after a few more listens. 

(Post-script: In fairness, I’m pretty sure that I’m hearing Joe Ely when I listen to Chris Rea and Steve Earle. Music is funny like that – influences are in the ear of the beholder. I heard Steve first, so Joe’s stuff sounds like Steve to me :)