New Record Release by Joe Jaber Strikes an Emotional Chord with Listeners
In every struggle, there lies a gem of wisdom, a universal truth that both shines and blinds. But you have to dig for it, and dig deep is exactly what singer-songwriter Joe Jaber did when he wrote the songs for his new album, “Made It on My Own.”
Confessional and cathartic, “Made It on My Own” is Jaber’s third album, and perhaps his most comprehensive in its approach to storytelling. The record is a collection of six songs that offer soulful snapshots of Jaber’s personal journey from childhood to manhood and beyond. He attacks themes of loss and survival with honesty and authenticity, and delivers a strong performance packed with beautiful harmonies and lingering melodies.
“I think the reason people relate to my songs is they see themselves in my stories,” says Jaber. “I’m writing about challenges we’ve all been touched by.”
The album opens with “Same Old Town,” which sets the tone for the record. Although lyrically somber, producer Bryan Reilly worked with Jaber to create a fuller, more upbeat rhythm to drive the tune forward. Like the songs that follow, it has an overall bluesy-rock vibe to it, and you can hear the influence of Jaber’s love of the classic rock sound in Bob Mervak’s Wurlitzer electric piano. While the sound is familiar and reminiscent, it is still distinctly modern Americana.
In the album’s title song, “Made It on My Own,” Jaber explores the lyrics’ dark and somber message with hauntingly arranged strings, while his deep, sometimes gravely vocal delivery is intensely emotional and defiant. “Made It on My Own” tells Jaber’s childhood story of abandonment by his father, and how the anger and heartbreak of his youth evolved to become the strength and determination of his adulthood. It’s a song that is as open and raw as you can ask any songwriter to be.
“Mary Street,” a tune popular with his live-show audience, describes the good, the bad and the in-between of the rough-and-tumble street where Jaber grew up in Taylor. It was, he says, a place with tons of kids and not a lot of adult supervision; lots of parties and great times, but lots of tragedies as well. It’s an all too familiar story for listeners with a history of their own Mary Street.
While Jaber is fearless about exploring the shadowy side of life’s challenges, he doesn’t lack optimism. Like any good piece of storytelling, “Made It on My Own” has its beginning, middle and end, a thoughtful arc that culminates in introspection, resolution and hope. He takes the album out on a high note with the last song, “Hold Now.” It’s a take-no-prisoners rock anthem that testifies to all the meaningful moments, people and relationships we hold dear, and a call to action to hold them close.
“Even though these stories come from my personal life, I think the messages are about challenges that so many of us share,” says Jaber. “If people find something in my music that speaks to them and their experience, I’m honored to create that.”
The CD release party for “Made It on My Own” takes place November 10 at Lyft Lounge above Hockeytown Cafe in downtown Detroit with very special guests Detroit’s own Ty Stone, and Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils. The event will also function as a fundraiser called “You’re Not the Only One,” which is designed to bring awareness to people struggling with depression and addiction.