Smokin’ Joe Wiseman

Thanks for subscribing and welcome to my fourteenth Newsletter.

My Help

I am a member of the Nashville Songwriters International Association (NSAI), Branch Co-ordinator (Bay Sy. George) for the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC), student at SongU, participant SongStudio – hosted by Rik Emmit and Blair Packham, member of Music Newfoundland and Labrador (MusicNL), and a member of SOCAN. I can honestly say that each and every one of these organizations has helped me to continually hone the craft of songwriting and I thank them!

Songs are the main vehicle by which a songwriter communicates with listeners. I will be sharing my songs, and stories about how they were written, in my newsletter. I will also be sharing additional folk art and personal interests.

My Music

My 4th CD, “The Only Sin” is finished and I am planning a CD release sometime in July. I am currently out of the loop in Brochet, Northern Manitoba. The CD will be released online at CDBaby with a pre-release at – hope you caught “The Only Sin” – the CD’s title song this month at

To date I have recorded 4 CD’s; A Field By The Sea, Blue Smoke, Life is Good and The Only Sin. You can sample songs from these CD’s on my CD Baby web page store. As well, some of the songs appear in the audio player on the top of each page on my website. Songs from The Only Sin will be available as soon as CDBaby as set the project up for early July.

I have begun work on my 5th CD. “Song For the Women.” Allister Bradley will Produce the project. The title song, a folk song, will be an anthem for women, who are devalued, by almost every culture in the world.

My Reading

I have just finished Jonathan Harr’s “A Civil Action”. Following the death of children from leukemia and the ramnifications in Woburn Massachusetts, this is a page turner. I take back any disparaging remark I may have cynically made about lawyers for Jan Schlichmann gives his all, to make the case, for those families who have been forever changed by toxic chemicals released uncaringly into the environment. Harr paints a compellingly real picture of all involved; the families, the lawyers, the judge, the jury and the corporations and employees. He does not hold back and lays bare the good and the bad of all involved. His grasp of, and ability to portray, human nature in all its grandeur and its failings is second to none. What a read!

My Favorite Robert Johnson Songs

The story of the life of Robert Johnson is a great one and has resulted in much speculation about whether he sold his soul to the devil at “the crossroads” and whether he was poisoned by a jealous juke joint owner or whether he died of natural causes. Commonly referred to as “The King of the Delta Blues” Robert’s life is the stuff of legends.. The question is; which are the 3 Robert Johnson traditional blues songs of all time? Here is my list.

I suggest that the top 3 are:

• Cross Roads Blues
Robert Johnson is considered by some to be the greatest bluesman of all time. This song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of fame in 1998. The song, itself, was made famous to today’s listeners by Eric Clapton’s legendary band Cream when they released the most popular cover in 1968. Cream’s version was given the single word title “Crossroads.” In addition, the song is a legend in that Robert Johnson is reported to have sold his soul to the devil for the ability to play the blues. Robert, after “disappearing” for two years, once again reappeared on the delta blues scene of the early twentieth century with “blues licks” and “tunings” previously unheard. As they say, the devil is in the detail and Robert’s newly found abilities were attributed to the devil.

• Sweet Home Chicago
Released by Robert Johnson in 1936 on his first of two recording sessions this song has been covered by many of today’s blues artists including but not limited to “Blues Brothers”, “Keb’ Mo” and “Eric Clapton.” Written in the 12 bar format, only the chorus has repeated the first and second line. This is a departure from the most common 12 bar blues format where the first line of each verse is repeated. This would not be the last of innovations by Robert. One line has baffled blues enthusiasts where Robert refers to “the land of California, Sweet Home Chicago.” However, it may be as simple as the fact that there is a borough of Chicago called California.

• Love in Vain Blues
Covered by the Rolling Stones on their “Let it Bleed” album, the titled was shortened to “Love in Vain.” Purported to be written for Willie Mae Powell, the song was played for her by John Hammond Jr. in his 1991 documentary “The Search for Robert Johnson.” In 2011 the song was inducted into the “Blues Hall of Fame.” The Stones incorrectly credited the song to one of Robert’s pseudonyms, “Woody Payne.” The surname most definitely rhymes with the dominant theme of the song – pain, and love, lost.

Whether or not you agree with my picks, there can be no argument that these are some of the best Robert Johnson traditional blues songs of all time.

My CD Exchange

If you are an artist, indie or otherwise and would like to build your collection of Indie music by exchanging CDs, please e-mail me at  I would be pleased to exchange music with you.

I have made my 1st exchange with Brian Volke of Calgary, Alberta. I met Brian in the summer of 2012 at SongU in Toronto, ON.

My Family

My son Waylon is currently a veterinarian in Brisbane, Australia.

My son Jim is in his last year of med school in Dumaguette (the city of gentle people), Negros, Phillipines.

My daughter in law, Kathleen Mae Lano Wiseman, has just achieved her Master’s Degree in Public Health and is employed as a nurse in Dumaguette, Phillipines.

My wife Marie is currently teaching Grade One at Brochet School in Brochet, Manitoba. For her, the teaching of reading is a passion as opposed to a vocation. She loves her work, and the children, and they love her. That’s how it should be in a Grade One classroom. Marie’s idea of a good workout is a 2.5 hour snowshoe in -25 degree weather. Not bad for someone who is finishing a 40 year career of teaching. I am truly a lucky man.

I have just purchased a winter residence in Port Charlotte, Florida. Not a condo on the beach but a condo within a short drive to the beach. We are looking forward to the pleasures of Charlotte County, Florida.

My Tale of a Song

I have been a fan of folk music for as long as I have been listening to music. It was inevitable that I would eventually write folk songs. I have written a number with First Nations themes. Three of these are included on my 3rd CD “Life is Good.” Folk songs cover the gamut of all human emotions. This song began as bantering while waiting for the plane to Thompson from Brochet, MB. Some of the images are real and some are fantasy and the result “Prairie Crocus” is an uptempo, good time, fiddle tune. The prairie crocus is also the provincial flower of the province of Manitoba. Have a listen on my Facebook  Artist page. Send me an e-mail – and let me know what you think.

My First Little Bay Islands Song

My first Little Bay Islands (ancestral home of my parents) song ia “Love of a Hometown Girl.” The song was written as an anthem to the emotions of the “floaters” and “schoonermen” who made a living, fishing off the coast of Labrador. A “floater” was a fisherman who lived aboard his/her schooner from the time he/she went to Labrador in early summer until he/she returned home in the fall. Check out the acoustic version (with fiddle) at

Recent developments in Little Bay Islands, an isolated Newfoundland outport foreshadow the disappearance of this beautiful island paradise as a community. Resettlement to the mainland of Newfoundland is inevitable. I hope you enjoy my tribute. There is another song with a Little Bay Islands theme “Bound For Hell” to be included on my 4th CD “The Only Sin.

My band Keltic Jam, play some of my songs locally and a version of Too White to Sing the Blues, my first blues release, is available on YouTube at TIPs&feature=share&list=PLJnIFXD-E5j6NGSdQhePM16xeU1HHS-ov  Hope you enjoy!

Smokin Joe radiates the soul of Johnny Cash, the sensuality of Jim Morrison and the style of Woody Guthrie wrapped up in a folk/roots package! He’s somewhere between “Ringo Starr and the Grateful Dead” His songs are “real life gritty”, not “Nashville pretty”!

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Future Topics

  1. Labrador Retrievers
  2. Places to Visit
  3. Smokin Joe Updates
  4. Photography

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