Local Noise: Jody Joseph

“To continue my journey and take along as many passengers that want to come on board,” says Jody Joseph, explaining what motivates her and keeps her music coming. “To use my music to heal, and to give back to numerous charities. I hope the ‘Fat Lady’ don’t sing for a long, long time!”

Jody has become well known in these parts, even garnering a “Living Legend” award at the 2009 Asbury Music Awards. Her musical legacy comes with a family tradition; one of her relatives was the opera singer Mario Lanza, another is her cousin, Jon Bon Jovi.

But Jody considers her biggest thrill performing with some other legends, Big Brother and the Holding Company, who were Janis Joplin’s band back in the day and with whom she got to perform in 2006. “Both in Oklahoma and at the Stone Pony,” she recalls. Other highlights include playing the Paramount Theater in Asbury, and the Gramercy Theater in New York. “But really, it’s any time I step on the stage and the audience gets me. It could be three people at the Liberty or 900 at the Paramount. It’s all the same in my heart.”

Jody’s music encompasses a variety of influences, including blues, rock and pop. “The obvious ones are Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks,” she relates “The not so obvious are Etta James, Shirley Bassey, Bette Midler, Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin and Susan Tedeschi. My bio describes my songs best; as bluesy ballads, cranked-up, soulful rockers, and spiritual songs with an attitude, with devilishly clever lyrics and wide-open heart and soul.”

On June 26th you’ll be able to hear that sound at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, as Jody has taken a leading role in a major charity show to benefit Mary’s Place By The Sea, which was created to give women with cancer a place to rest and revive during and after treatment. “Bev Beveridge turned me on to Michele Gannon, the founder of Mary’s Place, and asked if I’d be interested in the position of musical director and if I would perform in the show as well,” relates Jody. “I have always tried to give back through charities and this particular one really touched my heart.”

The show will feature a number of Jersey shore artists, including Gary US Bonds, Jobonanno & The Godsons of Soul, Wade Preston from Broadway’s Movin’ Out, Lisa Bouchelle with Bob Burger, the Steve Reiley Band, Laura Crisci, and Bullet Bob.

Jody’s music has a very spiritual edge to it, and while not overtly religious, it lends itself to that type of interpretation. “There have been times, over the years of my song-writing journey, when I had a very strong desire to have, what I like to call, ‘Conversations with God,’” she muses. ”I didn’t even know this until it was brought to my attention by others. The true blessing is when I see other people who are in pain and suffering relate to my songs. I’m hopeful that my music brought them some healing and comfort.”

Another facet of Jody’s performing is a show she has done periodically which pays tribute to Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks. “Fans have always been telling me I sound like Janis and Stevie,” says Jody. “I always have requests to sing their songs. It was suggested to me by Renee Ludwig to do a show, the concept is hers, highlighting the music of both of these talented women. But, as the concept took shape it metamorphosed into One Diva-One Woman-One Legend. I’ve done two shows already, the first one at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park on May 30, 2009 and one at The Gramercy Theater in New York City on January 23, 2010, and each one was to a full audience. I’m working on my next show at Brookdale Community College Theater in Lincroft on Sept. 25. Tickets are on sale May 1 at $30 each. I’m donating 10% of each ticket to Mary’s Place.”

The backing band that accompanies Jody consists of some of the top players in the area. “I have the honor of playing with some exceptionally talented musicians,” she says. The group includes Jon ‘Huey’ Tatlow on bass, Jon ‘Rockin’ Rotman on drums, Robert Kipp on keys, Billy Siegel on keys, and B Jay Willis on lead guitar. “Bill Frank sits in with my band as needed, and is a very talented guitar player. Bill was a member of the original Bon Jovi bands, Atlantic City Expressway and The Wild Ones,” she adds.

For more information on Jody and the band, and the upcoming Mary’s Place By The Sea benefit show, check out jodyjoseph.net.