Missouri native and North Carolina transplant Joe Newberry has made music most of his life. He grew up in a family full of singers and dancers, took up the guitar and banjo as a teenager, and learned fiddle tunes from great Missouri fiddlers. He plays with Bruce Molsky and Rafe Stefanini as the Jumpsteady Boys, in a duo with mandolinist Mike Compton, and in a quartet with old-time music legends Bill Hicks, Mike Craver, and Jim Watson.
Watch: 'Sittin' On Top of the World' with Mike Compton
Everyone on his Dad’s side of the family sang — on his mom’s side they sang and danced.
“My mother’s brother, Tom, was a great tap dancer and well into his seventies he could take a big napkin and tap dance on it and not mess it up.”
Joe is a dancer, too. When he was a young boy his mother taught him to dance the box step and waltz. “At some point you’ll be at a dance and none of the other boys will know how to dance but you will, she told him.”
He later learned to clog and now claims to be a “recovering clogger” in a 12-step program.
Last Time on the Road
Surrounded by music, Joe was drawn to it for the same reason a lot of young men are. “I liked this girl who was taking guitar lessons, so I thought I could get some favor with her if I took lessons, too.”
He remembers getting his first guitar. “It was all I wanted for Christmas and my mother told me they couldn’t afford it. On our way to visit family, mom feigned ill and asked if she could lie down on the back seat. When they pulled back the blankets there was the guitar for me.”
Joe has written a lot of classic songs including “Singing As We Rise,” which drew the attention of the pastor at Joe’s former hometown church.
“I got an email from him and he didn’t know that I went to that church and asked permission to sing my song in church. I told him, “If you look in the third pew on the left from the pulpit, that’s where everybody in this song sat.”
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Music makes the world small according to Joe. “My songs are being sung by friends and strangers, and in churches and at funerals and that’s the highest honor there is.
To keep up with Joe Newberry, follow his facebook page for a barrage of new music as he picks away on video, posts live concert and more. Ways to keep in contact:
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