Smokin’ Joe Wiseman

Thanks for subscribing and welcome to my sixth Newsletter.

I recently participated joined the Nashville Songwriters International Association (NSAI). The NSAI website is designed to help artists become better songwriters but focuses on the Nashville country market idea of what is a hit song. There is no doubt that these guys know what they are talking about. Many of the staff have written #1 hits and have gone through the learning experiences that it takes to be a hit songwriter. It’s a dilemma for me because I write mainly folk songs and there isn’t an easy access to the folk song market. Where are the channels that play folk songs and who is listening? Needless to say, I am at a crossroads.

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, on my website. I will also be sharing additional folk art and personal interests.

What’s Happening

I have recorded the vocals for my 4th CD and Fab Tranzer has finished the mastering. I have also begun a Production arrangement with Allister Bradley for my 5th Project. The songs are pretty well selected for that project and I am writing and co-writing songs for my 6th Project. I usually cover 2 favorite songs for each Project and Project 5 will feature Woody Guthrie’s “Hobo’s Lullaby” and the blues standard “Midnight Special”.

To date I have recorded 3 CD’s; A Field By The Sea, Blue Smoke and Life is Good. You can sample all of the 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. I have all of the tracks recorded and the mastering completed for my 4th CD – The Only Sin. All that remains is the replication. Anticipated release is early 2013.

I will miss Juan Albarran in a production role as he has been with me for 4 Projects. I am indeed happy that he will continue in a musician’s role as our rhythm guy. A band without solid bass and drums is like a house with no foundation. I look forward to Juan’s continued contributions to my musical efforts.

What I’m Reading

I have just finished Stephen King’s “11/22/63”. This book is a must read if you enjoy Stephen King. I had gotten away from reading his books as there are so many. What a treat to read this one. It’s like he’s reve’d up his engines as an author and gone to a whole new gear. You will love it, I am, and hats off to Stephen King for taking me back to my youth. He is truly one of “the voices” of the baby-boomer generation. He lives inside all of our heads!


Co-writing is a tremendous way to add creativity to song development. Many heads are better than one certainly applies for songwriting. A quick look at the songwriting credits for the top ten hits at any point in time will inevitably reveal that better than half of the songs are almost always co-written. Often, these are staff writers for record companies but many times they are not. The co-writes are also generated by people who are new to songwriting.

Co-writing has many challenges, not the least of which is the direction of organizations like NSAI and the Nashville hit machine. Singer-songwriters often write songs about everyday life and all that goes with that life. Nashville hits tend to take us away from reality and the “grind” of everyday life. The stars want to sing songs that may become hits and that make them look good. Many beginning songwriters want to stay with reality but Nashville and the draw of writing a possible “hit” song tugs them in a contrary direction. When entering into a co-write, all parties need to be clear on the purpose of the song. Are they writing as 1) a fun activity, 2) an exercise in songwriting as a piece of literature, 3) a song with a message, 4) a number 1 hit song or 5) some other reason or a combination of those reasons. Clarity from the outset will ease the process.

Co-writing may also involve critiques from “experts” in the song-writing business. Listening to these experts can help grow the skills of new songwriters. Once again, the writer must be clear on purpose. If you use the “experts” be aware of their mindset and then, be prepared for their input which may mean re-writing parts or even all of your song.

My Sons

I have two sons of whom I couldn’t be more proud. I am proud of them for who they are, for their ability to empathize with the less fortunate around them and for their profound love of family. I an also proud of who they are becoming as professionals. Jim is in his 3rd year of Med School and Waylon is in his 4th year of Vet School. I could never have withstood the long haul they have both engaged in to achieve those degrees. Through thick and thin, relationships, personal loss, a marriage, and so on, they were in it for the long haul. Their Mom and I are very fortunate to have these guys as sons!

Kathleen Mae Lano has joined our family as Jim’s wife and she is a pleasure to have as a daughter-in-law. In truth she is more like a daughter and stays in touch as much as our sons. We love her dearly!

Tale of a Song

I am a longtime blues fan and released “Blue Smoke” as a project devoted to the blues. In researching and writing or selecting the songs for the project, I came across a tongue-in-cheek blues song and immediately loved it. I performed it with Rik Emmit and his house band at Hugh’s Room in Toronto and the audience immediately fell for the song. The room was electric and the solos powerful. I was compelled to record “Too White to Sing the Blues” and have been informed by artists like Bunmi Adeole that I am indeed not too white to sing the blues. Have a listen on my Facebook  Artist page. Send me an e-mail – and let me know what you think. The author, Joe Medeiros, btw, is a staff writer for Jay Lenno.

My First Country Song

I have an Facebook Artist’s page where you can click on Like, click on Band Profile, and then download free Everything But Me, my first country single at Share with your friends so they can like and click for a free song also!

My band Keltic Jam, play some of my songs locally and a version of Metis Girl, my first single release, is available on YouTube at  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”!

Contact Info and Websites

Future Topics

  1. Labrador Retrievers
  2. Story of a Song
  3. Places to Visit
  4. Smokin Joe Updates
  5. Books I’m Reading
  6. Phillipine Folk Tales
  7. Photography
  8. Songwriting Club

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