DR JOEY ONLY
outlaw band release �Transgression Trail�
By Lindsay Wilson
For many modern musicians, it’s a painstaking process to establish a niche or an image that will separate them from the crowd. But for Dr. Joey Only, frontman and singer-songwriter for the outlaw folk-punk country group the Joey Only Outlaw Band, the image was never an effort; it just was, and each song performed on stage stems from a belief system and a series of life experiences that are real, raw and unique.
When you think of the Joey Only Outlaw Band, think punk met rockabilly and folk at a protest rally and had a baby. Think psychedelic country music poetry. Think live performance with no breaks, only wild solos when a band member needs to take a bathroom break. Think of a bunch of rule-breakers on stage, making no apologies for what they do, only sending out a message of rebellion and giving a crowd more energy and musicianship than they could have possibly expected.
“The outlaw image isn’t a façade for me. I believe I am free and I have acted freely in all that I do. That often has led me to confront authority on different levels. I am not a phony who sings with a fake country accent trying to emulate Hank III. I, with my players, am completely my own force to be reckoned with…and we are entirely Canuck and I don’t mean the hockey team,” explains Dr. Joey, who comes from a roller coaster background of standing up for his beliefs from tangoing with the law from his work as an activist for anti-poverty to his own fight with his personal demons rooted in childhood.
Many have labeled Dr. Joey as “anti-folk”, a term with which the outlaw guitar wielder may contend.
“I don’t like the term ‘anti-folk,’ yet I get called that a lot. I am not anti-folk whatsoever. I spend a lot of time researching the history of this music and do workshops on the history of working class and radical folk music at festivals in the summer. For me, I prefer to say we’re outlaw because we play by our own rules, we aren’t catering to anyone or anything…we are genuine and real and relentless onstage,” states Dr. Joey.
The Ontario native has now taken the experiences of his turbulent past, his extensive tales spun from live performance on the road and the bond woven between the members of his current band (put together in 1996) and unfolded it all into a full-length CD, Transgression Trail, a project which was produced by Corwin Fox and Steve Loree. It has already charted third for folk/roots/blues on the Earshot charts in Canada and opened up the doors for the heavy-hitting tour he and his band are currently on.
After a series of bands since 1996, Dr. Joey Only feels his current band is capable of projecting the right sound and remaining true to the honesty he uses to connect with his audience.
“We are like a psychedelic freight train, a country show gone wild. We have created a sound and show of our own, and we don’t like to play a lot of covers. I write a lot of songs and we can take them wherever we want to go with them – you never know what we will pull out of the hat,” explains Dr. Joey.
With Transgression Trail rapidly climbing the folk charts, a host of shows yet to come and a fervent passion for personal expression that Dr. Joey has accepted is safer demonstrated on stage rather than at protest rallies or in hiding from the RCMP in the depths of the woods, the Joey Only Outlaw Band is a seven-piece army you may want to check out this summer.