Joe Firstman Sets Album Release

Joe Firstman's new album "El Porto" will be in stores January 26, 2010. Here is a little background: Joe Firstman bought an $18 cross-country Greyhound ticket from his home in North Carolina to Los Angeles, arriving with a beat-up guitar and head full of songs. He quickly found the big stage. It all happened quickly: first came the big Hollywood gigs, then the industry buzz, then the big deal with Atlantic Records and national tours with big rock stars like Sheryl Crow, Jewel, and Willie Nelson. There was ego and excess and beautiful ladies and music, music, music. Firstman wrote it all down and sang his songs like his life depended on it.

"In the songs of Joe Firstman, sensitive young men prowl the hills of Los Angeles, searching for fame and beauty, only to find self-destructive behavior and egos gone wild..." wrote Jim Farber in the New York Daily News. "While Hollywood's peaks and pitfalls have been prominently charted by songwriters from Don Henley, Stevie Nicks and Jackson Browne to Warren Zevon, Firstman aims to reinvent the milieu for his own generation."

When the world stopped spinning, he'd landed a regular gig as the bandleader on the "Last Call with Carson Daly" show. For four years, this was his university - playing and writing songs in whatever style the show's musical guests played and learning how to engage a studio audience, day in and day out. That gig ended in early 2009.

When Firstman's gig on Carson Daly ended earlier this year, something happened: all these songs started arriving. Firstman had already left the Hollywood scene behind and moved to little surfing enclave south of LA called El Porto. Now, newly free from the industry and ready to start the next chapter of his life, Firstman sat down and wrote an album's worth of material.

The songs - which will be released in a forthcoming album called "El Porto" that will be released on Rock Ridge Records in January - are sparse and comfortable, with a rough-hewn relaxed tone that sounds an awful lot like an artist coming into his own. "I think this era right now will serve as a more prominent cornerstone that even the earlier music, because the earlier music is harder to define," Firstman said. "This music, it's easier to recognize the traditional qualities, and it's easier to recognize even the sincerity. I feel like this is where it is all beginning, and it will all kind of orbit around this center, this nucleus."

The songs on "El Porto" aren't country. But they are indeed songs that somehow take you to the country. They've got space and ease and generosity. They are simple songs, simply sung. It's music that Big Daddy would have recognized, all warmth and wood and melody and flow. It's the sound of somebody coming home: the songs of a man who has rambled far and wide and has come full circle back to where he started, a bit older, a little wiser, with a deeper appreciation for the simple things in life.
1. Marlene And Her Sisters
2. House
3. The One That Makes You Happy
4. Mr. Winston
5. The Candle Maker
6. Only For A While
7. Crowded Town
8. 700 lb. Piano
9. Today
10. On A String

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