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Meet Joe Macheret

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Macheret. 

Joe, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My journey started out when I was four years old watching my mom play our old, off-white upright piano in the dining room. Her ease amongst the keys fascinated me. I recall being dumbfounded by how she was able to translate these ancient tomes of symbols and glyphs into beautiful, expressive music. I was interested in playing music ever since then and started up on the piano shortly after. 

Currently, I’m 31, and I play fiddle and guitar with the original Folk stringband, The Tillers, and also have a project showcasing my own original music called Joe’s Truck Stop. Both bands are based out of Cincinnati, my hometown and where I’ve lived most of my life. It’s been quite a trip getting here from my time sitting at that old upright piano, but despite anything that got in my way or led me astray, music has always been my greatest passion and motivator. It’s been a very healing part of my life, and my goal as a songwriter and musician is to be a conduit for that healing potential and try to make others’ lives easier, just as so many musicians and songwriters have done for me. 

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It hasn’t been a particularly smooth road. Being an artist for a living in today’s world is not easy; I’ve just never stopped trying. It takes sacrifice, determination, communicating with 8 to 15 people a day, and making to-do lists with 20-to-40 tasks on them at a time. 

The pandemic has been one of the biggest obstacles to conquer as it is still affecting so many aspects of being a touring musician. Many folks who were involved in organizing in their hometowns and communities haven’t continued that work through the pandemic and quite a few venues aren’t around anymore. The touring and gigging landscape is still the funky puzzle it’s always been, but quite a few of the pieces are different now, so I can’t quite rely on the same systems I had in place before the pandemic. 

So much has gone online too, and that’s never been my preferred method of interacting with my audience. I love the interpersonal aspects of being a traveling songwriter and letting folks get to know me through my stories and songs. I don’t experience that same sort of interaction in the digital realm, but it’s proven to be a necessity for the most of us, so you can find me on Facebook and Instagram. I’ve found keeping up with that side of “the business” to be a struggle at times. Especially when I’d like to focus on my craft but have to keep up with self-promoting on some of the most distracting platforms known to man. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I play guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, upright bass, steel guitar, dobro…if it’s got strings, I’m liable to make some music with it. I specialize in old Folk styles, from Appalachian Old Time and Bluegrass to Jazz and Blues to Western Swing and so on. I also sing and write originals songs born out of those traditions. I’ve had the pleasure and honor to record quite a few albums with my bands and with others as well, and I’m particularly excited about the new Joe’s Truck Stop record, Yonderings, that came out just a few months ago. I feel like it’s full of messaging that is important and helpful for people to hear and ponder. The songs are built on my own life stories with themes of traveling, gratitude, life and death, love, family, temptation, addiction, and more. Despite the heaviness of certain topics, there’s also a levity to it all that I believe represents life and nature’s ways of cosmic duality. 

If there was something in particular that I’m proud of, I’d say I’m most proud of the connections I’ve been able to make with folks who enjoy and are moved by what I do. The only reason I’ve kept up with it all so long, despite the sacrifices and hardships, is because I know it’s working, and I’m forever grateful to anyone who’s given me and my music a chance, especially to those who’ve shared what it has meant to them. 

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
My greatest inspiration is my grandma, Diana, colloquially known as Baba Dina. She’s the strongest, most resilient person I’ve known, and there’s no way I’d be able to do what I do today if it weren’t for her. She taught me to appreciate my own work and has been the embodiment of will and determination when I’ve needed someone to set that example for me. The last song on the new Joe’s Truck Stop record is called “Thank You” and is an homage of gratitude to her. 

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Image Credits

Chuck Loftice
Catie Viox
Caleb Campbell

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