It seems only fitting that this Dorrigo born and raised musician will have the opportunity to share with us his soulful music at this year’s Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, considering the influence that this region has had on this talented local.
“Growing up here in these mountains taught me that nature is the greatest teacher we have. I love walking through the wilderness here. It seems to carry subtle and beautiful metaphors that can strike a special chord in the human heart. And this is something I try to capture in my music. That sense of wildness,” says Joe Newton.
“Everyday I feel so blessed to live in Dorrigo and to have my roots here. It is a very special place.”
For those that frequent Joe’s local performances, that sense of place and ‘wildness’ is palpable. We wanted to interview Joe on the eve of the Festival.
Did growing up in the Bellingen Shire influence your decision to be a musician?
I don’t think it was necessarily growing up here in the shire that influenced me becoming a musician, I’d say that it was more my parents imbuing me with a strong appreciation for music at a young age. Though the shire has definitely had a strong influence on the music I write and play. Growing up attending festivals such as Global Carnival and Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, left me feeling very inspired as a young musician.
How would you describe your music?
That is a tricky question. To be honest I love playing a variety of styles. From folk & bluegrass all the way to reggae. I guess growing up in a hyper connected world with such easy access to music I can’t help but have a multi-faceted music taste. Though if it came down to it I’d class my songs as Roots music. Little bit of folk, little bit of blues and throw in some funk, soul, and reggae and we might be getting close.
How long have you been immersed in your music?
I started playing guitar at age 12. And have been playing and writing songs ever since.
You have set about creating your own recording space- why was this a passion for you?
Its always been a dream of mine to have my own space to record music. Mainly because I never know when the inspiration will arrive. Especially when its 2 am and my fingers are dancing and my voice feels stress free. I guess I always wanted to have the chance to capture that magic when its here.
Has it become a reality?
Yes, it sure has. Its nothing fancy and very portable but thanks to a successful crowdfunding project I launched in June I now have everything I need to record and produce music.
I believe you’re in the middle of producing your first album?- can you describe this process?
Yes. For the past 2 months I’ve been tinkering away at home recording acoustic guitar and vocals. It has been a huge learning curve trying to capture the sound that I am looking for. Lots of takes and lots of late nights. But this is the beauty of having my own recording space. Time is my friend
Is it mainly an acoustic album?
Yes definitely. I am trying to keep it as stripped back as possible. Bit of double bass here & there and the odd guest appearance.
Are there plans for further albums?
So many albums to come. I’ve got about 3 written in my head. But I’m starting with one and then I’ll go from there. The first 2 albums will be pretty acoustic, but then I’m wanting to go deeper into some electronica down the road.
You will be performing at the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival. Will you be performing on your own? Can you give us an idea of the music you will be performing?
Yes I’m really looking forward to the festival this year. Ill be playing by myself. Not entirely sure exactly what my set will entail but I’ll be bringing out some of my original folk material mixed with some old classic traditional songs.
Any further grand plans on the horizon?
Right now I am happy just recording music and spending time with friends and family. There are always big dreams brewing but for now I am very content and happy doing what I love, whilst living in paradise.