The saying is – the best writing comes from writing what you know – and based on Joel Rafael’s life experiences and 50 or so years of making music, he has a deep well from which to draw. Armed with a harmonica rack and an acoustic guitar, Rafael chronicles his life and the world around him with songs rooted in the American folk tradition, and influenced by Woody Guthrie, with whom he shares five co-writes. Joel Rafael is among the best Woody Guthrie students, proponents and interpreters we have.
“Joel Rafael’s songs are filled with passion and compassion,” says Jackson Browne. “Passion for social justice, and compassion – for those among us who have to struggle for a place at the table of American prosperity. His voice is unmistakably his own, big, warm and strong, and a conductor for the human emotions that connect us all.”
Joel Rafael’s ninth album, Baladista (2015), recorded at his ranch in North San Diego County, California, accompanied by Greg Leisz, James “Hutch” Hutchinson, John Inmon, and Terry “Buffalo” Ware, delivers ten essential ballads that embrace and celebrate the human spirit and reflect the half-century journey of an American Songwriter.