There’s a certain romantic imagery to skipping stones, always evocative of youthful exuberance and big dreams. Joe Pope channels this into a nostalgic folk-rock soundscape that reminisces on that blissful naiveté, introspecting on the ways we have matured in the face of adversity. Skipping Stones a gorgeous indie-acoustic track with soul and solemnity, one that values peace and growth. With a flurry of singles released this year, Pope is eager to share his emotional journeys with you, be sure to check out this track linked below. Following is an excerpt in conversation with Joe –
What is it about music that drives you?
Music is more than a career, really. It’s a passion. I have been writing music longer than any career I’ve ever had. Music to me is like a relationship. It can be frustrating, takes a lot of work, and reveals more about yourself than sometimes you want to know… but it is also so fulfilling and – for me – a vital part of living. Your music is very centered in the Americana-folk genre. What would you say your strongest influences are?
That’s always such a hard question to answer because it’s taken me a lifetime to even hear myself properly. I relate to songwriters back as far as the 60’s and 70’s… The Beatles, Bob Dylan, America, Kansas. Bands of the 90’s like REM, Oasis. Today, I relate to Ray LaMontaigne and Nathaniel Rateliff, but also to the many indie artists that I talk with every day. I think everything – rock, country, blues… they all sort of come from this core “folk” root. I feel like I’m just trying to find that place where it all came from… where I came from. What is the magic of skipping stones to you personally?
I just remembered this time when I was about 11 or 12, being upset about something and riding my bike down to the lake that was near my home. Having a bike at the time was like this first bit of freedom, you know where you could escape. I remember looking out over the water and thinking about how much I wanted to grow up, or at least know what was coming. The song is about looking back on that young version of myself and wanting to give some sort of comfort. That we are all going to screw up… but that it’ll be ok. The person that comes out at the other end can be stronger than we would have been by going through those difficult times. Has the pandemic affected your career as a musician?
I have it easier than a lot of artists because I built another career first. For me I feel privileged that I don’t have to rely on it. In a lot of ways, the pandemic has driven more creativity but more importantly it’s driven me to make connections with other artists. For the future, I plan on continuing to write music and see where it goes. It took my entire life to release my first album. I’ve released almost 20 songs since December of 2019. Most of them I wrote many years ago. The last 5 are brand new. I think I have a lot more in me.
Do you have any advice for musicians such as yourself?
Just write. Don’t worry about being perfect or cool, or trying to be like anyone in particular. Just be true to who you are, and if you listen real close – you just might hear yourself.
Part-time writer but full-time music enthusiast, I write some of the features on here. I think appreciating a multitude of genres and styles makes me good at my job, so clicky here to see what I've written!