2018... reflections and Happy New Year to all.


How do I sum up this crazy year?  Last January 1... I made a resolution to perform at 100 different events... Anything counts, be it a full 2 hour show or just 1 song at an open mic... I reached this in June and decided to make it 200... I ended up with 262.  So much fun this year playing music.  I loved every last one of them. I want thank each and every person who loved, hated, or barely listened to me while chatting with their friends this year.  You made my life better. ALL OF YOU. 

My album The Americana Diaries which was released at the very tail end of 2017 far exceeded my expectations for it.  Songs from it have been streamed over 850k times across YouTube Videos, FB Videos, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play. It was nominated for Best of Indy Local Album in 2018... I am so humbled by this I am kind of still in shock.  There are so many great records that were made in Indy this year and to be recognized as one of the best is what makes me so excited about what 2019 holds as I have been working on new songs for a new Studio Album to be released in June 2019.  Through all of these shows.. I was able to release a Live album in 2018.. Live at Susie’s Basement.  I love the reaction that it gets from everyone I have spoken to about it.  The live version of American Dream has already outperformed the studio version.

On top of the music shows and making records... and marketing records.  I took on a new venture this year.  My Web Series called Moonshine and Music.  I met so many great artists, I wanted to share thier work with the world as well as I have always wanted to do my own TV show.  My good friend Brandon Ley at Eat New Media started this project with me in a joint venture which after the first season became a show I alone produce.  I am very grateful to Brandon for jumping into that project and starting this wonderful little show with me. Thanks Brandon.  My good friend Brent Lee Smith helps me with the production of the show these days and I am quite thankful for his tireless efforts to make a good show.  I am also thankful and humbled by the 49 artists that have so far chosen to be featured on the show.  There are 8 more left to be released in Season 2.  Season 3 will be different, but I look very forward to keeping Moonshine and Music exciting and introducing the world to more great artists in 2019. 

I want to thank my wife Sara Graves Shelton for her constant support, my daughter Bailey Anne Shelton for helping with graphics, camera work, music consultation... my son Austin Shelton for helping me with several live shows being a roadie...as well as Jason Wyrick who shows up and lends a hand whenever needed.  I want to thank my brother in music Todd Arthur Blower for every thing he does... and congrats on his new twins born this year in the middle of a tour full of shows.  I want to thank Michael Ray Durham for his constant words of wisdom, ideas and encouragement.  I want to thank Ray Hoskins for being a great friend this year.  Tom Westrick for his enthusiasm that is contagious and always lifts me up.  Brent Schlemmer for always being helpful in all things music, show bookings, advice, and friendship. 

I want to thank Ryan Stewart for all his friendship over the last few years.  Thanks for Susan 'Susie' Fox Cesnik and Kirk Cesnik for allowing me to perform at their place and record an album there.  Thanks to my friends Jared Wooten, Sean Hannigan and Renato De Medeiros for being in a band with me this year even if it was for only a short time, I will not forget it.  Thanks to Jason Wuerfel and the entire team of people at Books and Brews for your full support of my music and my show Moonshine and Music.  Thanks to Melissa Cary Sandullo for all your friendship and support.  Thanks to Meghan Cristeen Martin for all your help in the many many things we have discussed about the music business and for my future Uke lessons. Thanks to Cari Ray for your great music and the long chats about making music that have inspired me to work harder each day.  Thanks to Frank Dean for giving me loads on invaluable advice and support. 

Thanks to everyone who booked me to play in their bars, restaurants, breweries, pubs, backyards, pool parties, birthday parties, songwriter nights and empty rooms. 

Thanks to everyone who bought a record, streamed a record, dropped money in a tip jar or bought a beer at a show.  You guys are the fans.  I love you guys!!!!! 

Thanks to everyone I haven’t mentioned.  If you are friends with me on Facebook or my neighbor.  I appreciate you.  I value your place in the world. I yearn to learn more each day about human nature and to find new friends to share a beer, a laugh, a song, a movie, a game of Smash Bros, or a moment of sorrow with. 

What will happen next year? 

I have big plans.  It is gonna be huge.  Go big or go home.  2019 here I come!

Joe SheltonComment