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#43 Joe Whyte: When The Day Breaks

By Gary Wien

Born and raised in Matawan, Joe Whyte is proof that even Jersey boys can sing with an honest to goodness country twang.  Currently living in Rutherford, Joe is part of New York City’s Americana/Alt-Country scene.

His first original songs came while living in Dublin and playing in a band called Mad Frank.  The band started out playing covers, but slowly incorporated originals into their set.  Dublin’s thriving music scene helped inspire Joe to take the leap from covers to his own songs.  Joe not only immersed himself into the Irish scene, but continues to regularly tour Ireland with success.

Over the last 13 years, Joe has released eight albums.  Each has shown remarkable improvement in his songwriting to the point where his most recent release, When The Day Breaks, contains his best work to date.

He’s joined on the record by Catherine Popper (from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals) who provides bass and harmonies on a few tracks, and Dan Marcus who complements Joe with guitar, dobro, and mandolin.

Musically, the album is stripped down to its singer-songwriter skeleton, yet feels much bigger through slick instrument fills, solos,  and gorgeous harmonies.

The album contains tales of the road by truckers who can’t slow down, broken hearts and relationships, soldiers heading out to war, and even the Great Flood of 1927.

In a sign of the times, When The Day Breaks was offered solely as a digital download from JoeWhyte.com.  Due to people buying less and less CDs, the economics didn’t make sense to produce an actual disc.  Instead, Joe chose to make the album available as a free download, gambling that an increased fanbase would be worth more than any revenue generated from a physical copy.

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Highlights include “Please Believe Me,” “This City Is Alive,” “It’s A Shame,  and “4th Of July.”

From the book Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists by Gary Wien

Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.

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originally published: 01/28/2011

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