Sound Advice: Simon Joyner and His Poetic Folk Songs Are Coming to Torn Light Records

Joyner’s influence can be heard in the songwriting of contemporaries like Conor Oberst and Beck.

Mar 22, 2023 at 5:17 am
click to enlarge Simon Joyner - Photo: Schorle, Wikimedia Commonss
Photo: Schorle, Wikimedia Commonss
Simon Joyner

This story issue featured in the March 22 issue of CityBeat.

Omaha, Nebraska singer-songwriter Simon Joyner will be bringing his brand of unique and poetic folk to Cincinnati in early April with a show at Torn Light Records in Clifton.

After more than 30 years in the music scene, Joyner continues to churn out carefully crafted records, though his newer releases are slightly more polished production-wise and a far cry from his lo-fi roots in the ‘90s.

Joyner’s influence can be heard in the songwriting of contemporaries and self- described Joyner fans, like fellow Omaha native Conor Oberst, Beck and Kevin Morby. Listening to a Joyner song is in some ways akin to reading a short story by Raymond Carver or Andre Dubus: you get an immediate sense of the narrator’s vision and skillful handling of words while a character’s whole life is played out from start to finish in just under four minutes, like “Jefferson Reed” from 2015’s Grass, Branch & Bone.

Joyner recently returned from a European tour with his daughter, Frances Joyner, in tow, making stops in England, France, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark. He’s funded his upcoming U.S. tour with an interesting project consisting of ten songs from any of his previous albums re-recorded per a fan’s request, and available to purchase as One Carried A Lantern on his Bandcamp page.

Joyner has also been busy promoting his newest album, Songs from a Stolen Guitar, released on his own label, Grapefruit Records. According to an interview with Casbah Records, Songs from a Stolen Guitar was recorded during the height of the pandemic with each musician playing their parts in isolation from their home studios, resulting in tighter and more focused arrangements. If you care about lyrically dense songwriting with music reminiscent of Joyner’s personal heroes, like Townes Van Zandt and Tim Buckley, be sure to stop by Torn Light Records to hear one of music’s best kept secrets.

Simon Joyner plays Torn Light Records on April 5. The time has yet to be determined. Info:

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