With a gentle guitar, creative lyrics and smooth raps, Average Joe has introduced himself pretty well in his new track 'Taxi'. It's an ambitious, intense and eclectic listen with spades of Northern wit courtesy of the feels of his hometown Stoke-On-Trent.
This artist takes the very ordinariness of everyday life - the mundanity, heartache, hard graft, and little victories and twists it all into something transformative, and hopeful.
Brooding front-man Joe was raised in Stoke-on-Trent, an ex-industrial area whose cultural heritage - a thriving Northern Soul scene - Jimi Hendrix once playing in what is now a Wetherspoons, has slowly been eroded into a city sometimes known for little more than the birthplace of Robbie Williams.
Growing up, the escapist (yet seemingly unreachable) possibilities of music were made clear to Joe from an early age - his mum sang folk lullabies to him from the womb onwards, whilst his landlord Dad’s “working-class attitude, yet aristocratic high standards” exposed Joe to classic, confessional storytellers such as John Martyn and Tom Waits.
Joe felt emboldened to sign up for the school musical, but one scrappy year of bullying later threw himself instead into the local post-punk scene, where his frustrations and fears were filtered into the idea of writing your own songs instead. Now as inspired by vintage soul, hip-hop and classic R&B as the caustic spirit of Sleaford Mods or Mike Skinner, Average Joe takes timeless themes and renders them razor-sharp on the conditions of the present day.
This is a track that is just honest and cut-throat - it shows the reality of living in the north, but also what it's like to be brought up in a poor environment, which is why Average Joe is someone to look out for.