Acoustic Showcase

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

You don’t have to fly to New York’s MTV studio to see the filming of a live music TV show.  This Friday, a short trip along Highway 68 is all you need to put you right there in the audience for a concert by Emory Joseph, which will be filmed for local cable channel Access Monterey Peninsula.

“Arden’s Garden” is the name of the TV show which presents a monthly one-hour acoustic music concert, filmed in front of a live studio audience at Monterey’s Community Media Center.  The show, which celebrates its one-year anniversary this month, is the creation of Arden Eaton, a peninsula resident who has a long involvement with local media.  She presented a radio show on KAZU in Pacific Grove for 17 years, and has worked at KPIG in Watsonville for the past 11 years, including their live music program “Please Stand By,” which airs every Sunday from 10am until noon.

Eaton’s aim in running her monthly TV show is simple: to add to the cultural and arts program of the local area, as well as providing a wider audience for touring musicians.  “I am trying to help the working stiff musician,” she said, “Y’know, really great musicians who fall somewhere in between super-famous and completely unknown.” The show features both local and national acts, all playing acoustic music.  There is an emphasis on Americana and roots artists, as well as music from other genres such as Celtic and Hawaiian.

Friday’s artist is Emory Joseph, a singer and guitarist from St. Louis.  Joseph’s music spans a host of American styles including blues, soul, rock and Cajun.  He has recently self-released his debut album “Labor and Spirits,” featuring some of the top names in roots music including Levon Helm (The Band) and Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention).  The album’s 10 tracks showcase the energy and passion of Joseph’s performance, as well as the wide range of his influences.

Joseph attributes the mixture of styles in his music to the radio stations he listened to during his youth.  “At any time of day, the AM dial was giving us everything from hard-core soul and rock’n’roll, to sanctified gospel, jazz singers from the day, sugar pop, Southern rock… you know… everything!  And at night time, my transistor hauled in signals bouncing home New Orleans soul, Memphis R&B, Chicago blues and ‘The Opry from the Ryman.’  It was heaven in a little boy’s head.”

As an adult, Joseph always worked in the music industry in some capacity, but it is only relatively recently that he has devoted his time to performing.  “I’ve had quite a few records worth of material over the years,” he said,” but my gut said to wait for a time when I was sure that the music I’d be putting out matched the life I wanted to live.”  The wait seems to have paid off, as “Labor and Spirits” has garnered strong reviews in the press and praise from artists such as Bonnie Raitt and Randy Newman.  Joseph is justifiably pleased with it all. “This ‘all-music-all-the-time’ period of my life is like the gravy on the spuds, man.  I’m having a ball!”

“Arden’s Garden” airs every Thursday at 2pm and 8pm on AMP Channel 24, and can also be seen online at www.ampmedia.org.

First published in “411”, The Salinas Californian, January 29, 2004

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