Joe Firstman to release “El Porto”


Joe Firstman
Joe Firstman
California-based and North Carolina-raised singer-songwriter Joe Firstman will be releasing his new album, “El Porto,” on January 26, 2010, on Rock Ridge Music. “El Porto” is the latest entry in a discography that includes a full-length (“The War of Women”) and an EP (“Wives Tales”) released on Atlantic, plus another full-length (“DrAma”) and live EP (“Live at The Sandbox”) released independently. It is his first album since his full-time, four-year job as bandleader on “Last Call with Carson Daly” ended in early 2009 when the show was restructured.

“Joe Firstman always makes great music,” says Carson Daly. “That’s all he knows how to do. His genuine love of writing, recording and playing live sets him apart from other artists who view that as work. Joe lives for it and it shows.”

Says Rock Ridge Music president Jason Spiewak: “As a songwriter, Joe Firstman is a true craftsman. Great songs have the ability to transport the listener to another time or another place, and Joe’s songs can do just that.”

“El Porto is a small surf break in Southern California,” Firstman says. “I have lived near there the last few years, and I wrote, rehearsed, and recorded this album between Venice Beach and my home in El Porto in the spring of ’09. For three months, my neighbors were tortured with the slow, often painful incarnations of the music blasting out of the windows of my house/studio and down the tight, echoing beach blocks, and they never complained, even when we recorded a full horn section in my living room. Thanks y’all. I’m excited to go out and play these songs. El Porto gives me some stories to tell.”

The songs on “El Porto” are sparse and comfortable, with a rough-hewn relaxed tone that sounds like an artist coming into his own (see complete track listing below). The songs aren’t country, but they are songs that somehow take you to the country. They’ve got space and ease and generosity. They are simple songs, simply sung, all warmth and wood and melody and flow. It’s the sound of somebody coming home: the songs of a man who has rambled far and wide and has come full circle back to where he started, a bit older, a little wiser, with a deeper appreciation for the simple things in life.

“It takes experience to see the world that kindly and that considerably,” Firstman says. “It takes a grown up. You have your own stones to upturn, but you also recognize what the masters were doing and how they did it, in some respect. And then to focus in – having not given up the whole way, which is crucial – and to be able to sit back and understand a little bit better, and by understanding, simplify it. It takes a lot of wisdom to simplify, to live your life simply. It’s way easier to live your life complicated.”

Firstman has paired up with TOMS Shoes, the only shoes he wears, to offer fans a discount on their products. Fans who use the promo code JOEFIRSTMAN at checkout can save $5 on their order at the TOMS Shoes website ( TOMS has a “one for one” program where, for every pair of shoes purchased, they donate a pair of shoes to a child in need.

Firstman, who has crossed the country on tour with folks like Sheryl Crow, Jewel, and Willie Nelson in the past, will be taking “El Porto” on the road to live audiences (see tour schedule below). He is already confirmed to tour with The White Buffalo and labelmate Ernie Halter in early 2010.

“El Porto” Track Listing:
1. Marlene And Her Sisters

2. House

3. The One That Makes You Happy

4. Mr. Winston

5. The Candle Maker

6. Only For A While

7. Crowded Town

8. 700 lb. Piano

9. Today

10. On A String

1/20 – LeStat’s, San Diego, CA
1/21 – Hotel Café, Los Angeles, CA
1/22 – Soho, Santa Barbara, CA
1/23 – Café du Nord, San Francisco, CA*
1/24 – Stillwater, Ashland, OR*
1/26 – Silver Moon Brewing Co., Bend, OR*
1/27 – Miss. Studios, Portland, OR*
1/28 – High Dive, Seattle, WA*
1/29 – Empyrean Coffeehouse, Spokane, WA*
1/30 – Wildwood Hotel, Willamina, OR*
2/2 – The Reef, Boise, ID*
2/3 – Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, UT*
2/4 – Walnut Room, Denver, CO (with The White Buffalo and Ernie Halter)
2/5 – Vaudeville Mews, Des Moines, IA**
2/6 – Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis, MN**
2/9 – SPACE, Evanston, IL**
2/10 – Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH**
2/11 – Club Café, Pittsburgh, PA**
2/12 – Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA**
2/15 – Fairfield Theatre, Fairfield, CT
2/16 – Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA
2/19 – Evening Muse, Charlotte, NC
*denotes shows with The White Buffalo
**denotes shows with Ernie Halter
…more dates forthcoming!

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