JOSEPH: “People should come prepared to feel feelings!” (6/23 at WCL)

“It’s gonna be a banger of a night,” says JOSEPH of their current headlining tour, not quite a sentiment often associated with shows at World Café Live (They’ll be...

“It’s gonna be a banger of a night,” says JOSEPH of their current headlining tour, not quite a sentiment often associated with shows at World Café Live (They’ll be playing The Music Hall of the singer/songwriter haven on Friday, June 23rd.)  The Portland-based folksy indie pop trio of sisters – Natalie Closner Schepman, Allison Closner, and Meegan Closner – released their fourth full-length, The Sun, this April, courtesy of ATO Records, their home since 2016 sophomore LP I’m Alone, No You’re Not.  I chatted with the girls via Zoom this April, prior to the album’s release and the start of the tour, which spans more than two months and kicked off in London.

The Sun was receiving a steady stream of praise from critics even before its release, with American Songwriter saying, “The new album’s title represents something of a breakthrough.  It’s the thesis for the band as its members try and figure out who they are and what they want to do after achieving big tours and millions of song streams,” and NPR Music claiming, “The Closner sisters sing beautifully, sure, but they share their voices in the service of songs about fearlessness, commitment and the pursuit of a life fully lived.”  And it’s not just the critics that have taken note of the impressiveness of the sisters’ latest era.  They’ve been playing a number of album tracks live since last year, which audiences apparently became fans of well before their proper releases.

“We’ve been playing ‘The Sun’ and ‘Fireworks’ the most…  People seem to be really loving them and responding really well.  Before we released the songs, we had so many people on Instagram, pre-release, being like ‘I hope this is ‘The Sun’ that’s coming out first or second!’  So, it’s been a really good response, and same since we’ve been playing ‘Nervous System,’ as well.  That’s felt really good to play live!”

For their fourth LP, JOSEPH worked with acclaimed producers like Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, First Aid Kit, Laura Veirs), Christian “Leggy” Langdon (Meg Myers, Amos Lee, BANKS), Jessica Dobson (Deep Sea Diver), and Joey Burns (Calexico), alongside songwriting collaborators including Tayla Parx and Wynne Bennett, known for their work with artists such as Janelle Monae, Twin Shadow, Haim, Khalid, Normani, and Ariana Grande.  However, when we discuss the process of writing this batch of songs, it’s very clear that the sisters were the ones in charge, even if circumstances forced them to do things a bit differently this time around…

“We got started on this one during the pandemic, so we did a lot of co-writing over Zoom, which was a wild time, because that was unlike anything we’d ever done before…  It had some challenges, and it had some opportunities… to just write in the chat in certain moments, as opposed to being in the room and saying something out loud, and you have to see how it lands, which was really cool.  As far as how it is, it’s just the next installment.  It’s the next movement of where the stories have gone, and it’s really just about stepping into how much more we really are than maybe we thought.”

The majority of JOSEPH’s shows in the second-half of 2022 had them playing major festivals, or supporting The Shins on an extended run (which included an August stop at Franklin Music Hall), but they tell me that those who got to see those performances can anticipate something a little different for their headlining dates: “We’ve been previously doing a lot of trio shows, and this time we’ll have two band members, Will and Dana.  And that’ll be really fun, just being able to offer a slightly bigger sound!”  And in terms of what can be expected of their June 23rd stop at World Café Live, they tell me that the breadth of their sound and energy will be on full display for the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

“It’s a really energetic, epic show…  There’s a lot of sonic dynamics.  There’s really huge moments and really small moments.  And I just think people should come prepared to feel feelings!  We’re really excited!  We’re gonna play a lot of the ones that people really love from other albums, and a lot of new songs from the new record!”

*Get your tickets here.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.