Smoke Leaves Town
"It is a testament to the quality of his songwriting, which is as close to flawless as a young, unknown Missourian is likely to get.' -The Riverfront Times on Joe Stickley With creative attention focused on the art of storytelling, Joe Stickley's Blue Print features a technical foundation of rock and contemporary folk musings arranged with care and attention to detail. The group continues to be characterized by their inflections, their subtle reliance on universal themes, their ability to appeal to the ear attuned to the roots of American music; all join seamlessly to communicate love, loss, and the possibility of redemption -- rendering the listener rapt. Following the release of Friendship's Quiet and The Eagle and the Pearl, Stickley has been performing regularly in the Midwest, including opening spots and festivals with the Avett Brothers, Steve Earle, and Del McCoury. On June 2nd, 2009 Stickley's Blue Print, which Stickley describes as more of a "surrogate family," will release their third album, Smoke Leaves Town. The album features the following members: Wil Reeves (bass, vocals), Sean Canan (guitar, vocals), Danny Carroll (drums), Andrew Weir (keyboards), and, of course, Joe Stickley (vocals, guitar). Stickley's last album, The Eagle and the Pearl, asked the question: "What is the soul of a man?" Smoke Leaves Town gives the listener eleven new tracks that answer this question with a poetic clarity that suggests there is something infinite at work, as the album lyricizes the central motifs of the river, fire, and the road to explain the human condition. Stickley's opening track, "Davy," remembers a loved relative lost, suggesting that those who have left us cannot be found, but they may find us. In the vein of Wilco and Dylan, "How's it by You" serves as Stickley's original tribute to Woody Guthrie, who tragically lost his daughter in a fire. As the album progresses the weather does appear to change. In "La La Yee," Stickley crafts a hopeful lullaby that the pain of loss may indeed subside. The track features Springfield, Missouri's premier twang princess, Cindy Woolf. The album culminates with "The By and By," a testament to the ability to save ourselves and that life can be lived one cup at a time. The album ends not with a question, but with the resolute hope that only true artists are able to summon. 'I've seen the future up ahead, and the sky looked blue." And with that, Smoke Leaves Town.