11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Joe Blanton

joe blanton

Let’s be honest for a minute. Don’t all us Nashvillians need our Americana music to sometimes just rock a little harder? Well, despite what that great David Mead/Bill DeMain song “No One Roxx This Town No More” may say, one of the faces from the Elliston Place “Rock Block” days, Joe Blanton, is still rocking us pretty hard.

 Joe first got our attention in the 80s fronting Nashville’s The Royal Court of China who released two LPs on A&M. He also is currently a member of The Bluefields with former Satellite Dan Baird, forever Scorcher Warner Hodges and everybody’s favorite drummer, Brad Pemberton. The Bluefields are one of those bands that also serve as great American overseas ambassadors with a strong European following. And, least we not forget, their rock sound has enough twang in it that they earned an Americana Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award!

 “Good, Bad, Right or Wrong” is Joe’s first-ever solo record and will get you rocking as well as appreciating some well-written lyrics. While Mr. Baird helped with some of said lyrics, every sound on the record was made by Blanton himself except for some of the backing vocals.

 Fresh off a UK tour opening for Dan Baird and Homemade Sin, these two acts just played a Nashville show at the True Music Room and Bar and hopefully will be back again soon. Thanks Joe for carrying Music City’s rock flame and for doing these eleven questions.


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I was born in Nashville, TN, and I’m not quite sure why I was born!

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

The first time I bought a record I was around eight or nine. I bought three albums that day, on vinyl of course: Blood, Sweat & Tears Greatest Hits, The Beatles Second Album, and Three Dog Night’s Golden Biscuits. At age six or so, I inherited my mom’s old stereo record player, and it was full of Elvis and Johnny Cash singles and albums. I also found “War” by Edwin Starr and wore it out. I last album I purchased was the A Star Is Born soundtrack. After hearing “Maybe It’s Time” (editor: written by Jason Isbell) I decided that “maybe it was time” to learn how to play that folk finger roll playing style. The lyric is just killer on that tune.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

My first concert was Alice Cooper Goes to Hell in Louisville, KY. My most recent was Bill Lloyd at Grimey’s. Bill did not go to hell, but he did break a string!

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

Jason & the Scorchers!! They kicked open the door for me and many others around town. Long overdue.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Usually my house for coffee since my studio, The Underground Treehouse, is located in my basement. I like Starbucks just fine, but Provence was my gateway to coffee snobbery. Mafiaoza’s has great pizza and a good mob vibe.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

Jason & the Scorchers’ Fervor.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

I don’t eat after a show very often.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Dan Baird, Warner E. Hodges, and Brad Pemberton. Lots of material to pull from their careers including The Bluefields!

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

The High Watt, Exit/In and Grimey’s, I’m going to play The Basement East with The Cactus Bothers in April, and I’m sure it’ll be great.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

Johnny Rotten

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

I just released a solo album entitled Good, Bad, Right or Wrong, so I’m touring a little to support that. The Bluefields are working on their fourth album and a “Best Of” album. I’m also mixing Warner Hodges’ new live record at the moment. As long as I’m able, I hope to keep a big toe in the water writing, producing and recording music I dig in The Underground Treehouse.



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