Jennifer Jane Niceley, The Barlow
7 S. Broadway
Denver, CO, 80209
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Singer/Songwriter/Multi-Instrumentalist Joseph Huber was a founding member of the .357 String Band--a group that, despite its abrupt break-up, still continues to gain popularity and is known as one of the most influential groups in the recent insurgent underground country and bluegrass movement. Having moved from .357, Huber has honed his songwriting abilities immensely and now continues moving onward and upward captivating folks with his sincere and well-crafted songs under his own name and with his backing band. Whether it's irresistible, fiddle-driven, dancing tunes or honest, heart-wrenching "songwriter" songs, Huber spans the spectrum of 'Roots' music while preferring not to stay within the boundaries of any strict genre classification.
His lyricism and introspective writing style has received high acclaim from many Americana enthusiasts looking for a more substantive substitute to much of today's modern country. Maintaining a solid touring schedule, playing all throughout both the U.S. and all around Europe, Huber continues to gain positive press, including being listed on L.A. Weekly's '10 More Country Artists To Listen To (2014).' Blue Ridge Outdoor writes, “Songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Chris Smither, and John Prine can marvel listeners in the simplest of acoustic settings,...From time to time, I stumble upon a new singer/songwriter whose work warrants comparison to the luminaries on this list. ...Huber’s songwriting has me comparing him to my favorites above.”
Huber's 4th solo release, 'The Suffering Stage' is a shift both in writing style and in it's filled-out production style, which looks beyond his usual minimalist folk recordings. It features many of Milwaukee's best players, such as Ryan Knudson on pedal steel; Dustin Dobernig on keys; Andrew Koenig on electric guitar; as well as his long-time touring band members--Jason Loveall on fiddle; and Eston Bennett on bass. It follows his early self-released material--'Bury Me Where I Fall' (2010) and 'Tongues Of Fire' (2012)--and his 3rd album, 'The Hanging Road,' which was released under Nashville's 'Muddy Roots Recordings' label in Spring 2014.
Jennifer Jane Niceley
To start before the beginning: While I was still in my mother’s womb I heard my father playing old- time mountain music on banjo and fiddle, so by the time I arrived I was already suffering from an incurable love of songs. At that time my parents were newly married and working hard on the “river” farm, now known as Riverplains, in East Tennessee. It lies in a beautiful, fertile valley by the Holston River, in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains. My father and two of his brothers, along with my mother’s help too, were running a good-sized dairy farm then. From my early childhood I remember most: lots of family and get togethers, animals (horses were my favorite), music, and the enchanting landscape of the area -- rolling hills and pastureland, shady tree groves, winding creeks and rivers.
After my father taught me to play guitar and a few old country tunes, I began writing my own songs around age 11 -- I still use that guitar today, a battered LG2 Gibson from 1942. Songwriting began for me as a way to lift my poetry off the page, and in many ways that has not changed either.
By high school I was singing with a band, and when I was 20 I made my first album -- a simple, solo affair that duly recorded the deeply introspective bent my art had taken.
By 21 I was in Nashville, looking for signs and trying to follow footsteps. I had newly become mesmerized by Townes Van Zandt (he died that same year), and Lucinda Williams…I studied the traditions of songwriting, but I couldn’t escape my own unconventional stylings. I think I knew I would never be embraced by Nashville, even by the so-called “Alternative Country” set (what they called Americana back then). Inevitably though, from day one I learned a lot from that town. Early on I found myself on stage with musicians at least twice my age and they all had advice to give. Some of them would tell me I had a mysterious quality to my songs that made me stand apart. Of course a somewhat naïve, young woman is more often than not going to be welcomed in - at least at first - by older male musicians. Dynamics get more complicated a little later down the road.
After finishing school I moved away, got married and moved around a bit (got divorced), then found myself back in Nashville a few years later.
This stretch in the Music City lasted seven years or so. During that time I made an EP called Seven Songs and what I considered my first “real” full length album (Luminous), with Joe McMahan. Those years found me longing terribly for the countryside back home in East Tennessee, while I stuck it out in the margins of East Nashville. I was working as a waitress, struggling in various ways as most “starving artists” do. During those years the music business changed dramatically. I forged ahead as an independent musician and made somewhat of a name for myself locally; got great reviews for performances in NYC and played Austin City Limits Festival and Bonnaroo in 2007. Luminous was reviewed favorably by local critics and No Depression... I have often thought that whatever career momentum I had going by 2008 had been won by blood, sweat, and tears, as they say, and in retrospect it seems a shame to have left it hanging in the air with nothing to do but evaporate.
But that is what happens when you run away, and run away I did.
From my perspective the next chapter of my life seesaws between total salvation and near annihilation. Meaning, I went back home again. I left Nashville, the musical life I had built there, and returned to Riverplains.
I have said that it saved my life in that being back on the farm – and actually learning to farm – grounded me, and I needed that desperately. I learned so much about so many things during that time. But I also stepped away from music, stepped away from feeling worthy of being an artist, even as songs still came from time to time. Even as my personal artistic vision refused to die.
In 2011 I recorded an EP called Body+Soul with Jon Estes at Nashville’s renowned Bomb Shelter studio. Then in 2014 I recorded Birdlight, again with Jon, this time in his home studio. Listening to these songs now the core of the struggle that had a hold on me is clear. To me it is an album about loss and hope, darkness and light, the pull of cycles and seasons…I did not really know where I was heading when I wrote those songs. I do think I knew it was going to be turbulent waters.
(Now nearly 4 years later I am living far from the farm. And far from Nashville too. I followed a dream to live in the American West and currently reside in Colorado.)
In the summer of 2016 I went back to Nashville once more. It was a transition time that helped me understand my place in the scheme of things again. And right before I left a year later, I recorded a new album with Eric McConnell in his fabled East Nashville studio/house on Boscobel Street. I had written a few of these songs before leaving the farm. The rest I wrote those months back in Nashville again.
I am calling this project Angels, Demons, Red-Tail Hawks and hoping all will be ready for release December 2017. These recordings are somewhat raw, minimal, and unorthodox. I feel these songs are born of a deeper, clearer place than perhaps any of my previous work. I am beyond grateful to Eric for helping me bring them out into the world, and very excited to share them.
Tasty country tunes from Denver, Colorado.