Thursday, August 18th, 8 p.m. No Cover
By Lisa Morgan
You wouldn’t know it to look at him, even if his style and stature do subtly set him apart from the average high desert transplant. Joe Garcia’s quiet demeanor would never lend you to believe that this sought after singer/songwriter and creator of folk rock Urban Desert Cabaret is, at his early foundations, a punk rocker. The New Mexico native may have taken his time over many miles to find his true voice, but the early influences of the 70’s punk era, along with The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Bob Dylan are all part of Garcia’s incredible ability to write outside, inside, under and all around the proverbial “box.” This singer/songwriter innately delivers melodic stories that pack an unforgettable punch. Less than a month after returning from a whirlwind tour of Europe (19 shows in 24 days through Austria, Slovakia, Poland and Germany, some of which were double headers), Joe Garcia will find his way to Pappy and Harriet’s. With members of an all-star band, Garcia will perform songs from his freshly released album, Shadow of a Ghost and more.
Garcia left LA after putting many bands together, recording a vinyl EP in the 80s, and ventured to the high desert with friend (and now, hi-desert icon) Ted Quinn in the early 90s. He spent a lot of time at the famed Rancho De Luna with Quinn and founder, Fred Drake, working on various projects but didn’t begin to record his first full album until 2014.
In 2014 the album, Sometimes the Angels, was recorded in Joshua Tree on analogue with Tony Mason and released the following year. The record opened the floodgates to Garcia’s deep well of songs and he never stopped writing.
“My journey to the high desert has been quite a revolutionary process. I organically began to develop important relationships here, both personally and musically, and it was those relationships that led me to the first international tour and this new record. Georg Altziebler and his wife, Heike Binder, from the band Son of the Velvet Rat became good friends. Kip and Lisa Mednick Powell of the band Arroyo Rogers were a profound influence on me musically; they had lived for a spell in my small town of Española, New Mexico only to meet me for the first time at Pappy’s. Georg was the one who sent my Angels album to a promoter in Vienna as well as to some other people in Austria. People responded to my music and house and club gigs began opening up. My wife, Joanna Fodczuk who is Polish, got involved and some opportunities opened up in Poland as well. Suddenly I found myself with a European tour booked.”
“This album (Shadow of a Ghost) is amazing to me,” shared Garcia with CV Weekly. “I was desperate to do it. I wanted to capture the songs that I never stopped writing since the recording of Sometimes the Angels. The fire and passion inside of me weren’t extinguished. I know and feel the preciousness of life at this age. There’s more life behind me than ahead of me and I want to live fully. It’s all about the process.”
“Building on the previous year, we booked a 2nd tour of Europe. I was a month away from leaving and needed a new record. I wasn’t sure how to get it done but I reached out to a few people, and Gar Robertson who owns Red Barn Recorders had the time and was willing to work with me on my budget. We had ten days and it turned out to be a magical experience.”
“I had the songs already. I went in and in one day we recorded all of my acoustic guitars and vocals. I had figured we only had time to lay down a basic folk singer record. But Gar, with years of experience, and the skills to show for it, added bass to the tracks. We asked Bobby Furgo (Leonard Cohen) to come in and do violin and a couple of days later he added piano and keyboards. Then we got Danny Frankel (k.d. lang, Lou Reed), whom I had recorded with years before at Rancho De La Luna, to come in and add drums and percussion. Kirsty McGee from Manchester England happened to be in the desert to do some recording at Red Barn and lent perfect vocals to a couple of tracks. Everything just came together and I had a beautiful record in my hand in time for an exceptional tour.”
“More and more, I become aware that ‘the process’ is a fire burning; the more you pay attention to it, the more it burns. The gigs and recording are a result of tending that fire. If I had spent the last ten years intentionally trying to build something, I’d have bailed because nothing would have happened according to my plans. I have loved the process of leaving it open and allowing talented, intuitive and trustworthy people to bring their part.”
Joe “City” Garcia and his Urban Desert Cabaret will be performing at the world renowned Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown, Thursday, August 18th at 8 pm. The phenomenal players who joined him in the studio for the recording of Shadow of a Ghost, will be joining him on stage, with guest appearances by Son of the Velvet Rat and Tim and Faith Chinnock of Adobe Collective. Seating is reserved for second seating diners only. Reservations are recommended.
Follow Garcia and learn more about his music and story at urbandesertcabaret.com