Close Personal Friends: Joe Kowan

I am lucky to have many talented friends. From time to time on DoT, I will feature some of them I would like you to meet. Like this charming fellow. This is Joe Kowan, a.k.a. Joe Krafty, or J-Krafty for short. He’s a talented graphic designer by trade (he designed my album cover), and also an incredibly talented songwriter. His work often covers at least two of the main DoT topics – music and humor. He even has one song about bigfoot that covers all three (although bigfoot isn’t scary in his song, he’s just a cool guy looking for love).

I have a favorite song of his, “Closest Thing to Prayin’.” I’ve seen him play it dozens of times, and always look forward to hearing it again. This is the official studio version.

Joe catches you off-guard. He can be scatological or poignant, often from couplet to couplet, as he is here. He starts off with the lines, “I was circumcised/Not by a doctor but by some old guy” (see the BandCamp link for full lyrics). Can’t think of a single other song that opens with that scene, and I’ve heard a lot of songs. A guy with a shaky hand and a glass of wine performing a circumcision sounds like scene from a slapstick comedy.

There are comic moments sprinkled throughout the song (check the Moses line), but this is where Joe is at his best. They are juxtaposed with solemn, resonant moments. “Well I have hopes and I have dreams/I love my friends with every molecule and follicle and gene.” It’s earnest, heartfelt. And if you ever have the privilege to hear Joe sing it in person, you can feel it.

Check out his BandCamp site for more of his stuff, or pick up his full-length CD, Discohog, on CDBaby.

Oh, and if you think you might recognize Joe, it might be because you saw his popular TED talk no stage fright. If not, enjoy.

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