Dynamic roots rock driven by organic guitar tones, soulful passionate vocals, and painfully honest emotional lyrics.
In early 2018, Minnesota roots rocker Joe Carey headed north to his home state's "Iron Range" to record a 5-song EP at Rich Mattson's Sparta Sound Studio. Inspired by societal and political turbulence that the country seemingly had been facing, it would be his fifth release to date and second with Mattson producing. But as the months passed between recording sessions, fodder for more songs came to light. Political headlines, a couple of back to back brutal winters, a near year long divorce process... Carey had more to get off his chest and what was meant to be a 5-song commentary became a 10-song catharsis.
Trying Time is a collection of ideas, observations, and experiences based on events that took place in 2017 and 2018... both publicly and in Carey's personal life, at times blurring lines between the two. For instance, the opening title track was originally about resisting the urge to take on a social media troll who taunted a friend with anti-Semitic hate speech but later took on a broader meaning that would be echoed in the album's closing track "Oh Grandfather": Trying...when faced with adversity. Trying...to take the high road when every fiber of your being is telling you to hit first. Trying...to be better and do good.
But the album is not ALL doom and gloom...yes, Trying Time includes SOME lighter fare. "Apollo's Creed" is a rocking tongue-in-cheek recounting of the first installment in the Rocky franchise, the Pogues-esque "Thought I Was Irish" questions the results of an Ancestry DNA test, and "Vying For You" is a testament to things getting better when it seems there is little hope.
Sonically, Trying Time is edgy and guitar-heavy to fit Carey's raw emotional vocals but, at times, is balanced out with the help of organ/piano (Joe's brother James Patrick Carey) and violin (Jillian Rae). As for style...fans of the Cat Stevens, Neil Young, Terry Reid vein are likely to find a kindred spirit in Carey through these songs. But Trying Time as a whole - be it a reflection of the days in which we're living, a metaphorical "gut check", or just a good ol' no frills roots rock album - is sure to have a little something for everyone.
Trying Time 4:530:00/4:53
In over Your Head 3:520:00/3:52
Apollo's Creed 3:210:00/3:21
Thought I Was Irish 3:150:00/3:15
Old Grade Road 4:410:00/4:41
Friend of the Dark 3:470:00/3:47
Vying for You 4:340:00/4:34
Hearts and Minds 5:140:00/5:14
Oh Grandfather 4:180:00/4:18
Good old Minnesota folk rock
With his rock band The Chinwaggers on hiatus, St. Paul singer-songwriter Joe Carey sought a new approach to making his next solo album. That led him to a little old church in the middle of northern Minnesota's Iron Range...Sparta Sound Studio. Purchased and converted in 2005 by local rock pioneer Rich Mattson (Ol' Yeller, The Tisdales, Rich Mattson & The Northstars), Sparta Sound had been a destination for regional bands of all genres for over a decade and Carey knew it would be the perfect place to breathe life into his new songs. So in February 2016, he left the Twin Cities with an amp, a couple of guitars, and some rough drafts of songs...and headed 200 miles north to the mostly abandoned mining town of Sparta, MN. There, with Mattson at the helm behind the soundboard, Carey was joined by drummer Keely Lane (Trailer Trash, Ol' Yeller) and bassist Craig LaSart (Christopher David Hanson Band), and together they hashed through song after song laying the foundation for the 10 track folk rock album "Comeback". His third solo effort and most rootsy to date, Comeback is a departure from Carey's usual guitar driven rock. In fact, for every guitar solo on the album...a harmonica, violin (Jillian Rae), or Dobro/lap steel (Shane Akers) is equally featured. The album begins with a series of songs drawing from life experience as a middle-aged husband and father trying to make it as an independent artist. Fighting one's way back from a metaphorical losing streak in the title track, seeking out diminishing opportunities in "Before The Cold", and paying tribute to friends who have passed on in "Missing A Friend" are some of the themes represented. Then, in a contrasting twist, Carey ends the album with a four-part story that hearkens back to the Dust Bowl era, starting with the blindly hopeful "East To West Mindset" (feat. Sonny Knight & The Lakers' horn section) and ending with the heart wrenching "Here On The Plains". It's no wonder how the album got its name...as one lyric from the title track states, "Who doesn't love a COMEBACK?"
Soulful Americana rock with a twist of Irish whiskey-infused twang.
In the age of digitally downloaded gems sung by auto-tuned pop idols, Twin Cities-based rock band The Chinwaggers wanted to make a statement. So in late 2012, singer-songwriter Joe Carey, along with guitarist Blair Krivanek, bassist Nick Salisbury, and drummer Jordan Carlson, began the journey laying down tracks in living rooms, garages, basements, etc. with one goal in mind...to create an organic, no frills, straight forward rock experience that could tell a story both lyrically and musically. Behold Wayward Son, a 10 song concept album in the vein of soulful Americana rock with the occasional twist of Irish whiskey-infused twang. The story is simple: Boy gets dumped. In a fit, Boy hits the road. Homesick, he tries to return but runs into a whole mess of problems. He perseveres, finds love, starts a family, and eventually returns home to reconcile his past transgressions. From the carefree open-road vibe of “Baptismal Ride”, to the Irish pub-themed "Vagabond Bastard Song", to the gritty guitar rocker “Second Guessing”, The Chinwaggers’ Wayward Son interweaves multiple genres painting appropriate ever-changing imagery as the story’s protagonist travels cross-country enduring life’s challenges. Furthermore, the album proves that this foursome of battle-hardened bar musicians nearing middle age can still crank out honest rock songs with depth and without the fluff.
Raw, indie, roots rock that hearkens back to the 70's.
St. Paul singer-songwriter Joe Carey’s newest solo release, Sunflower Soul, is a dynamic concoction made up of equal parts vintage guitar tones, straight forward rock beats, and raw yet tastefully melodic vocals. From the anthem-like opening title track to the lyrically inclusive Timid Child, Carey’s songwriting has evolved into an eclectic style of his own while still paying homage to some of his favorites such as the Black Crowes and the Jayhawks...not to mention rock forefathers like Zeppelin and Neil Young. In addition to writing, producing, and engineering all of the tracks in his own garage, Carey also played most of the instruments on the record...epitomizing Sunflower Soul as true blue, grassroots indie-rock.
Soulful pop rock with a retro groove
Minnesota pop rocker Joe Carey’s debut release, Wondervibe, is a well-balanced mural of sound that blends soulful rock grooves with passionate singing and heartfelt lyrics. Influenced by the rock stylings of Led Zeppelin and The Who, along with the soul of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Wonder, Carey recaptures the honesty and simplicity of the late 60’s and 70’s pop rock sound. From the feel-good rhythm of To Be Alive, to the smooth-yet-street wisdom of Superhuman Strife, to the raw emotion of The Divide, Wondervibe shines a recurring theme throughout: the triumph of the human spirit.