joe craven & joe troop
joe craven & joe troop
Joe Craven is not just an entertaining musician with a penchant for the mischievous, he is a teacher and student all at once and he will draw you into his performance by including you as though you’re part of the show itself. His gift of gab is unprecedented and his musical knowledge impressive. Joe’s openness and expression of gratitude for the gifts he’s acquired make it all the more fun for him to share them with his audience.
Creativity educator, former museum curator, visual artist, actor/storyteller, event emcee and recipient of the 2009 Folk Alliance Far-West Performer of the Year, Joe has made music with many folks – notably violinist Stephane Grappelli and Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia – to multi-whirled string guy David Lindley, harmonica wizard Howard Levy and seven years recording and touring with banjo fusionist Alison Brown.
Always looking for the next expression and object to make music with, Joe is a musical madman with anything that has strings attached; violin, mandolin, tin can, bedpan, cookie tin, tenor guitar/banjo, mouth bow, canjoe, cuatro, CBG, berimbau, balalaika, boot ‘n lace and double-necked whatever. Joe has created music and sound effects for commercials, soundtracks, computer games and contributions to several Grammy-nominated projects. An educator for over twenty five years, he has presented at well over 100 schools, universities, civic and community groups. He has paneled at the American String Teacher’s Association, is a keynote clinician and a co-director of the youth academy at Wintergrass in Seattle for over ten years. Joe is the Executive Director of RiverTunes in California and a coast to coast Emcee of a variety of music festivals, including Delfest and the 40th Telluride Bluegrass.
Whether a presentation to folks in Costa Rica, corporate heads in Contra Costa, CA, Goodwill Industries, The United Way, young men in a juvenile detention center, families in homeless shelters, a university lecture in Washington, jamming with Gnawa musicians in Morocco, on stage at Carnegie Hall with Stephane Grappelli, or on stage with an angel food cake pan in front of thousands of school kids in Scotland… no matter who and what Joe’s connected with, he’s at home and loving every minute.
‘Everything Joe touches turns to music,’ says mandolinist David Grisman, with whom Joe played for almost 17 years. No one who saw Joe wring a percussion concerto from his garbage-bag raincoat during a downpour at the Strawberry Music Festival could disagree.
Joe Troop is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter hailing originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The founder of GRAMMY-nominated stringband Che Apalache, Joe’s music is deeply inspired by his decade living in Buenos Aires and traveling throughout Latin America. When the pandemic unexpectedly landed him back in North Carolina, he spent 2020 learning direct action from stalwart organizers. In 2021 he channeled that energy into his homecoming album Borrowed Time. The record was co-produced with Jason Richmond (The Avett Brothers, Branford Marsalis) and features luminaries like Béla Fleck (who produced Che Apalache’s GRAMMY-nominated album), Abigail Washburn, Tim O’Brien, and Charlie Hunter, but the visceral songwriting and fine-crafted instrumentals speak for themselves. Joe’s music reflects both his time spent living abroad as well as his upbringing in the North Carolina Piedmont. Now based in Durham, he leads various ensembles, which play his original music. Joe has also most recently partnered with powerhouse Venezuelan folk music legend Larry Bellorín. The duo is on a mission to show that music has no borders and is already touring extensively.
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all photos copyright Maria Camillo