On his 6th album release, Stolen Tools & Stereos, Oakland songwriter Joe Rut's quirky sense of humor underpins a heartfelt, richly lyrical and subtly hallucinatory Americana/Alt-country tapestry. Special guests, including mandolin great David Grisman (Jerry Garcia, Old and In The Way, David Grisman Quintet) and pedal steel master Bobby Black (Commander Cody, Asleep at the Wheel), augment Joe’s band as he drunk dials his friends at 3 AM Tuesday morning, sings an abandoned black-velvet Elvis painting back home to Tupelo, pictures all his earthly belongings for sale at a flea market after his death, and ponders the tragic mating rituals of porcupines.
It is a deeply American music, although the border guards seem to have been bribed with psychedelics to look the other way. Much of the album was written in a year-long road trip, during which Joe travelled the main streets and backroads of California with his dog Potato in a converted Ford Econoline Van, writing songs daily in The Pretty Good Book, a 3-inch thick antique accounting ledger given to him by friends for the trip.
“They told me to fill it up. I filled 200 pages. It needed a name. I thought it was better than pretty good,” says Joe, “but ‘The Good Book’ was already taken, so…”
The lion's share of yet another (soon to be released) album was recorded with portable equipment in the van itself and in other venues while on the road, and Joe plans to debut and record more songs from The Pretty Good Book at the shows to celebrate the release of Stolen Tools & Stereos.
Highlighting his eclecticism, Joe’s fans have compared him to influences as disparate as Todd Snider, The Band, They Might be Giants, The Grateful Dead, Loudon Wainright III, Frank Zappa, and the Meat Puppets. His live shows have earned him a cult-status among those in the know, as a crafty guitarist and a songwriter who disarms the listener with humor while striking to the heart of the matter, often accompanied by Chatbot 1984, a drug-addled 1980’s talking toy robot with a WD-40 addiction.
Joe has headlined the San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, and in his various bands he has played at England's Glastonbury Music Festival, San Francisco’s famed Fillmore (opening for Richard Thompson), the second stages at Shoreline and Sleep Train Amphitheatres (opening for Alabama), Nevada’s Burning Man Festival and Santa Cruz’s Y2K5 Live Looping Festival.
Joe’s Song “Dosey Doe” was voted #1 song on SomaFM’s Bootliquor Radio by listeners in September 2010, and his music (“Control Freak”) has been featured on NPR’s Undercurrents. His song “Jelly Donut” inspired a feature about food-based songs in the SF Chronicle’s Datebook, and he has appeared in Guitar Player Magazine. Joe’s Dante-esque epic tragi-comedy “And The Horse I Rode In On” won “Best Song” in West Coast Songwriters Open Mic. He was recently honored in Berkeley by a Joe Rut Cover Night, in which local artists took turns playing his songs.
Bernie Jungle will be the opening act this evening.
Tickets are $15 and are available at the link below, or at the door the night of the show. Doors open one hour before show time. If you have any questions or need more information, please call us at #510-654-3808.