Jammin' Joe wants to be your one-man band
Joe Buck might be the best blues, jazz and funk performer Kingmanites have never heard of.
"I have no fans in Kingman," said the eight-year resident following the release of his debut CD, "Jammin Joe Buck, the Amazing 1 Man Groove Machine."
"But they love me in Europe," he chuckled.
There's a lot to love, especially when the listener realizes the guitar, drums, trumpet, trombone, tenor sax and bass featured on the soulful and lively tracks are all played by Buck, who also does his own lead and backup vocals.
Did we mention he's legally blind?
Buck has a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, an uncommon eye disease that afflicts about one in 4,000 people.
The disease, which attacks the retina - the layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye that converts light images to nerve signals and sends them to the brain - is degenerative.
Afflicted since childhood, the 40-year-old Buck led a relatively normal life before his condition worsened in adulthood.
He was a licensed firearms instructor credentialed by the National Rifle Association, a job that paid the bills until his eyesight deteriorated to the point he could no longer work.
"I decided then to go full bore into my music," he said.
Music had always been a part of his life. His father Tom was a Dixieland trumpeter and his grandparents, Jack and Mary Ann, performed jazz. Jack was a trumpeter and Mary Ann sang with the Ellis Kimball Orchestra.
"My family definitely molded me," said Buck, who learned to play trumpet when he was 3 years old. He took up the guitar at 12.
He also studied music at Los Medanos College in California and drew inspiration from rockers such as Steve Miller, Sammy Hagar and the late blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughn.
When his eyesight failed almost completely, he taught himself how to play the other instruments.
Buck's technique goes like this: He writes the song in his head and then he plays and records the individual instruments and the vocals. He then step records, blending everything together.
"When it's done, it sounds like a real band," he said.
Actually, it sounds like a very real, very talented band. The results are plain to hear, a fact fans in Europe, Australia and New Zealand already know.
"2008 is when I started making money," he said. Buck released singles through a distributor who "liked my stuff," he said.
His singles were sold online. Enough were selling that Buck decided to put out a CD.
And he's not just a one-man band. Buck founded his own record label and "wrote, performed, recorded, produced, published and promoted the CD," he said. "I had to be in a band, but it's not easy to get around so ... I became my own band."
And while his eyesight is seriously impaired, Buck was familiar enough with his recording equipment that he knows where everything is: "For me it's a piece of cake," he said. "I can record a song every day."
"Jammin Joe Buck, The Amazing 1 Man Groove Machine" is available at Hastings and Amazon.com., Rhapsody and other online retail sites. More information can be found on his website, www.jamminjoebuck.com.
"I hope people buy my CD," he said. "I love doing what I do and I think people in Kingman will love it, too."
He also wants people to "friend" him on Facebook and "like" his page. "I want to get the word out and people can help by clicking that little like button," he said before adding with a small laugh: "And please buy my CD."