Joe Purdy @ RZ’s Coffeehouse

10:06 pm by


Just about a week ago, I found out Joe Purdy was going to be in town for a show at the University of Arkansas. He played at the little coffee house where I spent so much time during college. And it was a free show, thanks to the University Programs Coffeehouse Committee.

When I got to RZ’s Coffeehouse on Wednesday evening, the place was packed. They had to open all the doors for people who were sitting outside to listen to Purdy… (continue reading)

It was an intimate show. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and his harmonicas, Purdy was reminded of his early years perfoming at bars and cafes, “when people wouldn’t pay to see me,” he said.

He started out with a song about Arkansas, following the last Open Mic participant of the evening. It only took a couple of songs for things to get really comfortable. Purdy shared stories of his time in Arkansas, of his early years playing at a bar in Fairfax in L.A., and of stolen songs. He took requests and played songs of which he wasn’t sure he’d remembered the lyrics. He did forget a few lines, but those were the moments the crowd celebrated the most. With a dozen albums under his belt, I think he did an outstanding job fulfilling the requests of the night.

A couple of the songs that stood out the most were “Ode To A Sad Cloud” and “Outlaws,” or as someone requested it “The Queen Jane Song.” “Sorry about all the ‘sad bastard’ songs,” said Purdy, “that’s sort of my thing.”

Even when I wasn’t familiar with most of the material he played, after he was done I felt like we’d been on a musical journey together for years. And maybe not knowing all the songs and not having a photo pass was a good thing for me last night, because I was able to really listen to those golden lyrics. This show was good for the soul. It made me wonder if artists miss and need those intimate shows, even when they could fill up theaters or arenas.

After he played, he took the time to talk to everyone who got in line for an autograph and a picture. I highly recommend you go see him live and renew your love of the singer-songwriter kind. He’ll be at The Parish in Austin on April 22, and at The Loft in Dallas on April 23. Find more dates here.

Last night made me wish I could catch a couple my favorite artists in a setting like that: At a little cafe after an easy day of early Spring.