In The Spotlight

Musician of the Week: Joseph Israel

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Instruments: Vocals, guitar, percussion, shofar.

Day jobs: Musician, songwriter, homeschool teacher, organic gardener.

First performance: One of my first performances was at Arsaga’s on Township in 1996. The place was full of people and I felt so blessed to have so many friends and family come out, though I was very nervous. The music helped me open up and the whole night was so blessed!

How long have you been performing?: I really started performing locally on a regular basis in 2000. In 2004-05 I toured with reggae MessenJah Luciano. Our first headline tour came in 2006-07. Some of my favorite venues are Fox Theater in Boulder, Colo.; Belly Up in Aspen; Janus Landing in Tampa; and of course George’s Majestic Lounge is always a joy! All the good people in Northwest Arkansas show us so much love!

Favorite performance: Every time I get to play is a blessing. There are many shows that stick out. One last year that was lots of fun was to play the Ravina Fest in Chicago with Michael Franti and G Love. The venue was over 100 years old and the people were so full of love for music you could just feel it.

Type of music: Music from the heart and soul.

Originals or covers: We play a Bob Dylan cover “Slow Train.” As for my original songs and music, the best ones are the ones I am working on or about to work on that I do not know yet. I strive to make every song count.

Influences: The Almighty YAH, His Word and His Creation is a constant influence. Musical influences are Bob Marley, Luciano, Earl “Chinna” Smith, Bob Dylan and Ben Harper.

Accomplishments: I have been blessed by the Almighty with many opportunities. To record in Kingston, Jamaica, with many of the best musicians in Reggae, to tour nationally and internationally. To get a major record deal with Universal on the first CD “Gone are the Days” 2007. Still more than all this, the happiness and health of my family, my wife of 12 years Kristy and our children Cypress, Rebekah and Chavah.

What kind of crowd do you draw?: All types. There is a wide range of people who come out, and that’s what I love. I like diversity. The best thing is that whoever comes out and whatever the background, the music unites us all.

Albums: “Gone Are The Days” (2007), Lions of Israel/Ume, “Teach your Children Restore Humanity” Ep (2008), Ume, “Soulution” Ep (2009), Lions of Israel,Inc.

Backstage ritual: Clear the mind, read from the Psalms or the prophets and pray.

Plans: There is an old teaching that says a “Man may have many plans in his mind, but The Lord (Yahweh) directs his steps.” My plan is to let the Most High lead the way.

Goals: To finish, mix, master, and release the new CD, “Kingdom Road” and to tour.

New Projects: Started recording the new CD in Fayetteville at Crisp Studios with my band, then took it to Kingston to finish. Right now we’re ready to mix. We will be playing a lot of new material on this tour.

If you could open for anyone, who would it be?: I would like to open for many of the great songwriters of our time, the classics like Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. It would be great to hit the road with Michael Franti, Ben Harper and Rebelution to name a few.

Last CD purchased: Congo “Heart of the Congo’s” and Midnite “What Makes a King?”

Most played song/s on your iPod?: Don’t have an iPod.

Website: josephisrael.com

Upcoming shows: Gulley Park free concert on July 8. George’s on July 11.

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