Q&A with singer, songwriter and guitarist Joe Lewis, provides great blues with a valuable message

"The blues began as the "other side" of the coin so to speak...it was like a gut punch to the man about the pain our Black Brothers and Sisters were feeling out in the fields of cotton and other Big money crop of the day...but it isn’t always sad mad or mean but it is 100% REAL... And even can bring a smile or Joy to the heart of the Listener..."

Joe Lewis: On "A Mission From God"

Joe Lewis is a singer, songwriter and guitarist from Picayune, Mississippi. Diving headfirst into the guitar as a child, he pursued it with a passion. Joe learned any tune that caught his ear and sounded good to his taste was mastered and with a solid sound Joe Lewis provides great blues with a valuable message.  Each track is from the heart and soul of this upcoming blueman, to see this man play "LIVE" is to see a blues man doing what he Loves, it's as if he feels every single note he wails and trust this Mississippi blues man can wail on some Gospel blues Guitar. The sounds of the Delta and blues music were the forever background music Joe heard while growing up. So, it is no wonder that those sounds deeply influenced him as he picked up his first guitar at age ten and began to play. Many years of dedication to blues and gospel are now paying off, with some nice recognition along the way from Buddy Guy (regularly performs at Legend’s at Buddy’s invitation) and participation in the International Blues Challenge.         (Photo: Joe Lewis)

But there is another part to Joe and really is the reason he does what he does today. In fact, it is not only his biggest influence, but also the controlling influence in his life now. At age 25 after struggling with all the pitfalls and sins of the music industry and hitting a low spot in his life, Joe was led back to Jesus. Joe with the help of his faith was able to turn things around, re-focus his life in a new direction and develop the gospel messages that are part of his songs today. The Joe Lewis Band have three previous albums to their name: “Grace, Faith & Blues” (2015), “Love From A Distance” (2012), and “Good News Blues” (2009). Joe Lewis Band’s new album “Up Next” (2021), should prove to be another fine tool in their mission to open hearts and minds as well as doors.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I think it allowed me to see how blessed I am being from the south where its in your food, in your words in everyday life. So, in the Journeys I've taken I see a common thread there is a universal respect and admiration for a music form that goes back as far as the Delta can take you and then some.

How do you describe your sound and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

My sound can stretch from the early Delta blues to Rock and R&B Blues contemporary Blues... as far as my Drive. It comes from the source that all Good comes from... God Almighty… some call him Father God some "Abba Elohim" my mother's people the Cherokee call Him "Unetlanvhi" pronounced (oo-net-la-nuh-hee)... and he is the giver of all things Good...

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Every meeting is important in life… the best advice I was ever given was at my Grand Fathers Funeral...an old Mississippi Elder saw me withdraw from the crowd to be alone...he pointed his boney finger and with his beady Sharp eyes he Said " Joe Folks is gonna ask you are you a preacher a guitarist or a Bible teacher...?

Well what are you Joe?? He said you lift your head straighten your shoulders and look them dead in the eye and say " I'm the man of the hour whatever God wants to do I'm Available to his will..." Best advice be available to God's plan...

"My sound can stretch from the early Delta blues to Rock and R&B Blues contemporary Blues... as far as my Drive. It comes from the source that all Good comes from... God Almighty… some call him Father God some "Abba Elohim" my mother's people the Cherokee call Him "Unetlanvhi" pronounced (oo-net-la-nuh-hee)... and he is the giver of all things Good..." (Photo: Joe Lewis)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Getting to open for Carlos Johnson or Biscuit Miller and Big Mike Wheeler was an awesome privilege…they treated me very good extremely kind and they took my butt to school on that stage...lol they are top notch players it was an honor. Getting to Record with Biscuit Miller was a blast, and getting to work with the producer great Kevin Shirley. Was a dream come true he mixed the album. Also having Bob Ludwig master the Album was a dream come true as well...my next goal is to play one of Joe Bonamassa Blues Cruises....yes please...

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

The Live Experience meeting folks’ handshakes and hugs...I miss playing " Live"... My hope is the vaccine works and we can all get back to life. My fears are that the youth of today no longer see the Value in knowing the history of the Blues and how necessary the art form truly is...

What would you say characterizes Missouri blues scene in comparison to other local US scenes and circuits?

The Missouri motto is "the show me state" in Missouri you better be able to "bring it" on stage and show what you got...if not...you could be told to go home and work on it before subjecting everyone to it...lol..

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Always be kind and as far as Blues Elders Go only speak when spoken to…play every note like you mean it...                                                       (Photo: Joe Lewis)

"I think it allowed me to see how blessed I am being from the south where its in your food, in your words in everyday life. So, in the Journeys I've taken I see a common thread there is a universal respect and admiration for a music form that goes back as far as the Delta can take you and then some."

What is the impact of Blues on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Well that’s a good yet tough question...blues began as the "other side" of the coin so to speak...it was like a gut punch to the man about the pain our Black Brothers and Sisters were feeling out in the fields of cotton and other Big money crop of the day...but it isn’t always sad mad or mean but it is 100% REAL... And even can bring a smile or Joy to the heart of the Listener... take the Tampa Red and Georgia Tom tune "you can’t get that stuff no more"...as you listen to the Lyrics you begin to grin maybe even giggle because you know what they really saying...or the Albert Collins tune I aint drunk (I'm just drinking)... A very funny song that reminds me of my late Uncle "Truly Penton"...on weekends hed get good and sauced turn up the radio in the living room he and my Aunt Z would " Cut a rug" all hours of the night...

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would want to go to the time of Christ… And ask him where and how did we go wrong..?? Why don't we just simply LOVE ONE ANOTHER that was what Jesus said for us to do he said and I quote THIS COMMAND I GIVE YOU... LOVE ONE ANOTHER...it’s just that easy it’s a choice simply be kind and loving imagine a world where everyone respected each other’s views no one felt threatened by difference... no one hated anything but hate itself...and we all took the time to see and learn the value and importance of a different point of view...honesty truth and kindness ruled the day and the words I love you held value and still meant something special yet were said and heard on a daily basis. I guess I'm a sap... but I still believe in being kind, I still believe in loving all God's creation great and small, I still love people... and if Jesus was here right now I think he would tell everyone regardless you need to know this, I still love you....

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(Photo: Joe Lewis Band)

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