It was at the 2012 Muddy Roots Festival. Joseph Huber was on stage before a crowd of music lovers who had spent a long day under the blistering late-summer Tennessee sun. As Huber began his song, “Can’t You See A Flood’s A-Comin’,” the skies opened – the rain swelling in intensity to match the foreboding prophecy of the song. The crowd stood transfixed, basking in a moment of musical transcendence, refusing to move to shelter. While Huber lays no claim to elemental powers, that moment speaks volumes for his ability to hold a crowd enraptured with just a song, a guitar and his voice. It’s a talent he developed as a founding member of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin based streetgrass group, the .357 String Band, and that he’s continued to demonstrate as one brightest lights of the insurgent country and bluegrass movement – giving honest country music back to the people who want to hear it.
With his new album, The Hanging Road, Joseph Huber joins the Muddy Roots Records family and proves that he has a powerful voice of his own. Known as a blazingly fast banjo player, he uses his instrument to propel his songs, pushing them as hard as they can go. It’s a sound that comes from long nights on the road, and hard gigs in dark bars, a sound developed to cut like a knife through a noisy crowd. This isn’t music you can fake, this is music that you have to live. The lyrics to his songs aren’t written on napkins, or thought up on a whim, they’re earned. That’s why his songs on The Hanging Road are ultimately so hopeful. They’re looking to a better life, a rest from the road.
Like his first two albums, Bury Me Where I Fall and Tongues of Fire, The Hanging Road is a one-man production with Joseph Huber writing all the songs, playing all the instruments and personally overseeing the recording. “For me,” he says, “each individual song comes on its own, exists in a whole of its own, and if it doesn’t sound like any other, then all-the-better. This album has Cajun, amped-up bluegrass, country and stripped-down singer-songwriter songs that range from the carefree to all-out hopelessness. That’s why I enjoy playing music under just my own name. The music is whatever I change into as I grow older. I’ll always be Joseph Huber—no matter what that becomes.”
Joseph’s second job is woodworking, and it’s clear that he likes to work with his hands, whether they’re wrapped around the neck of his banjo, or planing a groove into old wood. On The Hanging Road, Joseph Huber’s songs demonstrate true craftsmanship but also show a proper understanding for “necessary roughness” – giving his songs an edge that is often lacking from modern Americana music. This is music with a strong grain, roots music that hasn’t been polished smooth.
Purchase a copy today and tell folks what you’ve just discovered!