Joe and the Feels debut album Unsupervised comes out April 16th on Texas label Out Of The Past Music.
When Joe Yoder moved back to Little Rock in 2018 to begin his new career as a licensed social worker, he wasn’t necessarily thinking “rock and roll.” He’d been an active part of the scene there years before, but after grad school and starting a family, had little time to devote to performing. Once back, however, Joe connected with local drummer Dave Hoffpauir, who just so happened to also be a social worker. Hoffpauir helped Yoder find a job, and signed on to supervise his post-grad years.
The two met weekly to discuss Yoder’s licensure, but inevitably, the conversation always ended with music. “What bands are you listening to?” “Who’s playing around town?” “Have you heard these guys yet?”
As 2019 rolled on, it was clear that Yoder and Hoffpauir needed to channel these discussions into a real, tangible outlet. They recruited Andy Warr on guitar, Steve Blevins on bass, and Gaines Fricke on keyboards. As it turned out, the other three members were also healthcare professionals, and so a name was born: Joe & The Feels.
The band developed a quick chemistry, wrapping Yoder’s songs in layers of melody and dynamic arrangements. They made plans to begin cracking the regional club scene. Then COVID hit.
The halt of concerts hit all gigging musicians hard. Pile on the fact that Joe & The Feels had only been able to perform one show, and all of the members were now drowning in professional responses to the pandemic.
“The band became a coping mechanism,” says Yoder. “We all needed that cathartic energy. It was like self-care through music.”
The band decided to use the shutdown to record these emerging songs. They enlisted Jason Weinheimer and his studio Fellowship Hall Sound, who helped them refine their sound.
The result is Unsupervised, a collection of loose, anthemic songs addressing shifting relationships, marginalized characters, and (what else?) mental health.
“I like to think of these songs as the musical equivalent of a good cry, a lively cheer, and a warm bearded hug,” says Yoder. “Isn’t that what we all need these days?”
Americana Highways premieres their first single “Concrete Sofas” right here: