An essential piece of Champagne Avenue is that it become a place to introduce people who are an inspiration to the world. I could not be happier to have my first introduction be to Mr. Joel Henderson.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Joel personally for a few years and he never fails to impress a sense of well thought convictions into any conversation. No matter if it is a stance on hockey, God, or music Joel knows why he believes what he believes and articulates his points succinctly.
Performing under the moniker Poor Nameless Boy, Joel performs as an extension of his own persona, continually producing lyrically incredible ballads that express his the reality of his own heart in an industry that is often focused on style over substance. Last week he released his new album “Bravery” to a sell out crowd and it is truly an incredible work!
As I sit here listening to it, I can not help but notice that with this album he has matched his usual depth of lyric with a new depth of sound that creates a superb listening experience.
I asked Joel what it was that inspired him about writing music. This was his response…
I was never the best English student. I saw people journaling, writing poetry, reading classic novels and there simply wasn't anything that drew me in. I dabbled, but it was far from a passion. It wasn't until I started truly paying attention to the art of songwriting where elements like metaphor, tone, and point of view became essential. What makes a pop radio song today different from 5 years ago? 10 years ago? What elements of a Country song are transferable to an indie ballad or uptempo rock number? It's certainly a craft. It is hard work.
Songwriting is a sensitive art form too because showing someone a tune you've written can be quite vulnerable. It makes taking critique even more potentially confidence shattering. However, like anything else in life, there are tools to put in our tool kits and hard lessons to be learned which only mistakes can teach us.
The craft is one thing, but I certainly don't have to go into depth about how music can affect us. Music is a soundtrack; a time stamp on our lives which connect deep within us. Whether that song reminds us of the trip we took with our friends camping after graduation, or the sappy tune we listened to on the radio which reminds us of a past heartbreak, it connects us. It connects us to each other, it connects us to the song, and it connects us to ourselves. It's the proud moment of saying "I've liked this band ever since their first album", or the guilty pleasure of admitting, "Ok, their stuff isn't that bad, I guess," even though you've been secretly tapping your toe the whole time and can’t wait to belt out the song on the way home.
I love songwriting. In a world where "I just love the beat" is becoming more common, the lyrics and flow to a tune are one of the sneakiest art forms out there today. If you wanna know if a song is well written, go on Youtube and count how many people have uploaded covers. A great song teaches you, it connects with you, and inspires you to sing back the words with your own story and inflection.
I believe John Mayer put it well when he said “I’m not worried about pop hits; I’m not worried about sales or relevance, I only care about one thing: tell your story. Tell YOUR story. … Follow where the road takes you.”
Wow, wise words as always, my friend, thank you for sharing your heart, it is true inspiration.
To those reading , do not just take my word for it, do yourself a favor and check Poor Nameless Boy out for yourself on his website - www.poornamelessboy.com, or better yet head straight to iTunes and get your copy of "Bravery" today!