Joey J. Saye – World of Trouble
Self-Produced – 2021
Five Tracks; 17 minutes
The son of Liberian immigrants (from the Mano tribe), Joey J. Saye grew up in the African church and was exposed to many varied types of music. But, being born near Chicago, the blues seems to have been his strongest influence. He has performed around Chicago as a solo act, in a duo with the extremely talented Rodrigo Mantovani, and with a full band. At 29 years of age, he has already earned himself a residency, (playing at Rosa’s Lounge every Thursday night), and in 2021, he was chosen as a “Make a Wave” Artist.
Saye recently released an EP, performing as a solo artist, in World of Trouble, which contains three original songs. It can sometimes be difficult to hold an audience’s attention as a solo artist playing acoustic guitar, but Saye rises to meet that challenge. He has a very full sound to his guitar-playing, which makes you feel as if he is right there in the room with you. And he occasionally throws in some intriguing, tension-producing, and dissonant sounds, such as in his interpretation of Kid Bailey’s “Rowdy Blues”. However, he wisely resolves that tension by ending with the uplifting sound and classic blues structure of his original song, “Pennies from Heaven”. In that self-reflective song he notes “I’ve got to make some changes before life changes me, look in the mirror…is the stranger who you want to see?”
His other cover is Melvin ‘lil son’ Jackson’s “Milford Blues”. One small flaw of this EP is that the lyrics can occasionally be a bit repetitive. For example, “aint no need to cry, you’ve got a home as long as I’ve got mine” is included in two consecutive songs. However, overall, this release is a great introduction to Saye’s music, and is likely to leave fans hoping for more from this clearly talented artist.
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