Joey Only

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Joey Only
Joey 4976.jpg
Joey Only live
Background information
Origin Canada
Genres Anti-folk, punk rock
Years active 1981–present
Website Joey Only's official website

Joey Only is a Canadian singer/songwriter of the underground rap/trill hardcore bangers genre, though he disapproves of being labelled as such for he prefers to be called Outlaw music. His songs tend to be often either very political in nature (especially in reference to B.C. and Ontario provincial politics) or about drinking, robbing banks, small town history, marijuana, cross country travel and country living. He is known as a radio personality on Vancouver's Co-op Radio 102.7FM after hosting Sound Resistance since 2003. He's acted as a booking agent and promoter while having been hired as a studio musician capable of playing bass, double bass, guitars, harmonica's, pedal steel and drums.[1]

Joey traditionally performed his own act solo using a guitar, harmonica, whistling, and foot-stomping (which he often prefers to mic). His solo act was furious and edgy enough to catch a loud bars attention. But more often he is found playing in a full band known as Joey Only Outlaw Band.[2][3] The Outlaws have played about 400 shows in Western Canada while Joey Only has played an additional 500 shows solo and many more in other bands.

In 2010 he released his fifth recording called Transgression Trail with the Joey Only Outlaw Band backing him. Other albums included: Radical Folk of the Great North (2004), Quesnel County Country Punk Conspiracy (2005), Joey Only Outlaw Band EP (2006) and Fire on Anarchist Mountain (2008). In 2007 film producer Ryan McCann helped him create a rockumentary on his cross-Canada tours called No Glamrock Country Star. Transgression Trail was produced by Corwin Fox and Steve Loree who is best known for producing/engineering Corb Lund's first album Unforgiving Mistress. Transgression Trail was in the Top 10 of Earshot Folk/Roots/Blues charts in Canada for 6 weeks making it as high as No. 2 for two weeks and finding themselves in weekly entertainment magazines in many major cities. To support the release of Transgression Trail the Outlaw Band played over 50 shows in 65 days in Western Canada and then made plans to tour the east extensively in the Fall.

Having come from a small-town background of punk rock, his music is in line with anarchism and his fan base tends to be either anarcho-punks, hippies, protesters and peace advocates (although he has a growing number of listeners in the country music crowd as well), taking influence from Waylon Jennings, Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, and Johnny Cash among others. Joey has performed with many of the artists from Riot Folk including Evan Greer, David Rovics and Anne Feeney as well as Buffy St.Marie, Fred Eaglesmith, Geoff Berner, Rae Spoon, Wax Mannequin, Linda McRae (formerly of Spirit in the West), Denis Delorme (of Prairie Oyster), Washboard Hank, Kent McCalister, Aurora Jane, the Creepshow and Kevin Kane. Joey Only has been on extensive tours with Anne Feeney, Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies, Rae Spoon, The Re-mains and Gertrude while filling in for Arizona's Traveler on electric bass.

Joey Only grew up near the infamous Spiderland Acres in Marmora Ontario where an old man named Spider put on large parties called Punkfest until his death in 2009 at the age of 73. Joey Only is therefore also known for playing at punk rock and heavy metal shows, and has played with numerous famous underground bands including Mass Grave, Rebel Spell, Mechanical Separation, Leper, The Business Associates, Poseur Disposer, The Switchblade Valentines, The McGillicudy's, Meat of Mankind, Mitochondrion, BUNCHOFUCKINGOOFS, Knifehammer, The Tups, HippieCritz, Subhumans, the Ripcordz and many others. His first band was a popular but controversial Ontario punk band called the Persecuted (1995–1998) though he played with numerous punk bands such as Bloodthirst, Four Quarters, The Arrested and Fart Bomb Apartment. Joey Only has also done a split CD with a punk band from Quesnel called the Effigy. More recently his new rockabilly country band JOEY ONLY OUTLAW BAND has done a series of shows with Vancouver's THE REBEL SPELL while being seen at Vancouver's Punk bar (The Cobalt), Montreal's Punk Bar (Cafe Chaos), Spiderland Punkfest (Killaloe Ontario), the Punk Night in Whistler BC and more. For several years the Outlaw Band has worked out of the Palomino in Calgary during the Stampede putting on some wild shows to wild crowds. Joey Only often appeals to punk and hippies more than the average country music fan, though that is changing.

Joey has had numerous run-ins with the law and for this reason has often called himself "Outlaw Folk" instead of Anti-Folk. Most of these run-ins are due to his days as a protester.[4] Due to charges of mischief and unlawful assembly from a protest in Montreal put on by the C.L.A.C., at which Joey Only was accused of smashing the windows of luxury cars, Joey Only has been banned by court order from attending protests until his court and probation was finished in May 2007. As well in the past Joey was not allowed to go to Vancouver Island, B.C. due to charges received there when several welfare advocates barricaded themselves in a Human Resources building to fight a series of cruel and unusual cuts to BC Disability Benefits by the Gordon Campbell government. The action was ended by a bath of pepper spray from Victoria Police. Both of these events are logged on his website and mentioned in songs.

Since the spring of 2006, Joey Only has been touring with THE JOEY ONLY OUTLAW BAND now consisting of fiddle (Jeff Andrew), accordion (Rowan Lipkovits), drums (Kenan Sungur), double bass (Justine Fischer), Tambourine/back-up vocals (Leah Martin) and steel guitar (Mike Zinger). The Outlaws played 150 shows in less than two years while Joey Only maintained a series of solo shows around the country. The Outlaws headlined the Artswells Festival in Barkerville, BC in August 2008 raising their growing profile considerably. They have toured through all parts of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan and have become one of the fastest and most psychedelic country bands Canada has ever seen reaching No. 8 on the Canadian College folk and roots charts in January 2007, the first time Joey saw any real radio success.


  • Radical Folk of the Great North (CD) - 2004
  • Quesnel County Country Punk Conspiracy (split CD with Effigy) - 2005 - out of print
  • Joey Only Outlaw Band EP (CD) 2006
  • Joey Only Outlaw Bad LIVE AT THE LAMP (DVD) - 2007
  • No Glamrock Country Star (DVD/Documentary) - 2007
  • Transgression Trail (CD)- 2010

The following was taken from

POSITIVE REVIEWS: "An anarchist sort of Stomping Tom Connors," Bob Nixon, Canada Now, CBC News.

"The voice of the movement," Dr. Heidi Rimke PHD, professor of sociology at the University of Winnipeg

"...sounds a bit like a defiantly DIY version of a young Bob Dylan, this being partly because of Onlys world-weary voice and partly because of his phrasing," Mike Usinger, Music editor of the Georgia Straight, August 2005.

"In our humble opinion he might be the next Utah Philips," 16th Annual Under the Volcano programme 2005.

"Joey comes from the Marmora area, a place that's only got two names in the phone book...and Only is one of them," Washboard Hank.

"Joining Washboard Hank is Vancouver's own Joey Only-that is if the pig magnet doesn't get arrested on the way to the show," Georgia Straight 'Straight Choices" section October 26, 2006.

"Joey Only a textbook example of effective activism,"title of Edmonton SEE Magazine article in May 2006.

"Joey Only provided a clearcutting tone to help project the bands messages, whether they were political or an invitation to party. He also fused his country/bluegrass sound with his advanced skills by playing very nice solos," Dheni Walsh, Capilano College Courier, February 2007.

"Craziest band to ever play here," the staff at the Palomino Smokehouse in Calgary

"Best show the Ironwood (Calgary) has seen in a long time," Steve Coffey (of Steve Coffey & the Lokels 2009)

"The OUTLAWS are the real deal! Last thursday at the Rose & Crown in Banff, 3 hours non-stop boot-thumping kung fu country," Kenny Konrad, a Kootenay roots musician.

"I've watched Joey Only evolve over the course of several years. He's remained true to his values, never lost sight of the injustices we struggle together to overcome. Joey's a devoted activist for real change, and an awesome musician too," Janine Bandcroft, CFUV radio Victoria BC.

"The Joey Only Outlaw Band love what they do, you can see it in their faces and the way they communicate with each other on stage...Joey steers the ride one honkey tonk step at a time and the crowd stomps their feet with every beat," Jason Pawlett of CITR Radio's Friday Sunrise and blogs at

"Imagine world-class shit-kicker Hank III channelling Bob Dylan circa "Subterranean Homesick Blues" while riffing on Geoff Mack’s "I’ve Been Everywhere" . It’s almost enough to make you want to get on a bus," Georgia Sraight, Instant Playlist review of the song Greyhoundin Guitar Man off the Transgression Trail album.[5]

SOME ARTISTS JOEY ONLY'S SHARED STAGE WITH: Tempest Grace Gale, Anne Feeney, Geoff Berner, Buffy St.Marie, Fred Eaglesmith, RiotFolk (Evan Greer), The Rebel Spell, Killaloe Rastaman-Rick Reimer, Washboard Hank, Lance Loree, Steve Coffey, Jason Burnstick, Leela Gilday, Subhumans, Kinnie Starr, Corwin Fox, CR Avery, JP5, Bunchofuckingoofs, Poser Disposer, Mamaguroove, Wax Mannequin, Chris Chandler, The Ripcordz, Po'Girl, Flying Folk Army, Leslie Alexander, Linda McRae (Spirit of The West), David Rovics, Aurora Jane, The Re-Mains, Mr.Plow, The Creepshow, Brooke Wylie, Kevin Kane (Grapes of Wrath), Kent McCalister...and lotsa more

SOME FOLKS AND THEIR BANDS JOEY ONLY HAS PERFORMED IN: The Persecuted (bass), Notwithstanding AE (bass), Bloodthirst (e.guitar), Little Miss Higgins (guitar/vox), Smokin 45's (vox), Cowpuncher (bass), Bob Wayne & The Outlaw Carnies (e.guitar), Rae Spoon (guitar/vox), Traveler (bass), Church in the Box (bass), The Arrested (drums), Hot Footed Haints (a.guitar), David Roy Parsons (everything at one time or another), T.Nile (a.guitar/vox), Knifehammer (drums/harmonica), Ghenghis Gandhis (e.guitar), Joel Battle (pedal steel), Liqourbox (e.guitar/vox), Denis Delorme from Prairie Oyster (guitar/vox).[5]

DR.JOEY ONLY IN THE WIDE WORLD OF THE WEB: - our main website - Joey Only's blog - you're looking at it - the adventures of Joey Only - reverb nation profile. - IMRadio page - CBC[5]

THE JOEY ONLY OUTLAW BAND: -LEAH MARTIN: June carter (2007–present) -MIKE ZINGER: 8 string steel guitar (2006–present) -ROWAN LIPKOVITS: accordion (2006–present) -KENAN SUNGUR: drums (2006–present) -JEFF ANDREW: fiddle (2008–present) -STEVE LOREE: telecaster, producer (2009–present) -JUSTINE FISCHER: upright bass since New Year's Eve 2009

HEROIC OUTLAWS OF PAST TOURS - RIP: -RICK MCCALLION: electric bass (2006–2008) -CHRISTINA 'ZIPPY' ZAENKER: cello, vocals (2006–2008) -TOBIAS MEIS: part time upright bass (2008–2009) -DAN INFECTO: upright bass during Bob Wayne tour 2008 -JAMES LILLICO: upright bass -LIQOURBOX BAND: back up band in Ontario, brothers in arms

Influences:Ralph Mooney, the pedal steel behind Waylon Jennings....and Waylon too I s'pose! Floyd Westerman and his awesome 1973 album Custer Died For Your Sins. Russ Gurr the Saskatchewan farmer and his 1968 album Federal Grain Train. Nearly everything Stompin Tom Connors ever did! Corb Lund went from punk to country pro without becoming a new school Nashville wanker. Wade Hemsworth who wrote the Blackfly song. Barney McCaffrey the Catholic anarchist in the Ottawa Valley who wrote Wilno Express album in 1977. Punk rock as taught to me by Warren Spider Hastings. Country living as taught to me by my folks!

I'm inspired by my fellow folk and country singers that enjoy similar levels of success and play similar clubs, they are the salt of my musical earth, my musical community and my comrades in harmonizing arms. Liqourbox are on a honky tonk hellride to the east coast. I hope Tim Hus gets his one last oil boom. Andrew Neville makes poor choices, two at a time. Steve Coffey's got stripes and isn't the same boy he used to be. Brooke Wylie's heart is on the line. Little Miss Higgins has a dirty old tractor in Junction City. Lance Loree has seen exploding hogs and alien rebels on his ranch. Rae Spoon has wolves at his trailer door. And Geoff Berner, he's just a fuckin lucky godammed Jew. They face all these adversities, yet make the greatest folk music ever made in Canada. I wish I could name all my Canadiana heroes here. We don't need to worship American's, we have it all right here. I hope they all get the recognition they deserve.

Oh yeah, Woody Guthrie, Utah Philips, Joe Hill, Anne Feeney, Harry McClintock and all the Industrial Workers of the World who wrote a picketline song to defend the working class! I am a Wobbly and believe there is power in our union, if we should choose to ever excersize it.[5]


  1. ^ "Profile: Joey Only". CBC Music. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Band channels Cash, Doors, Nirvana". The Star Phoenix. June 21, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Band set to play at Little Beaver". Fort Frances Times Online. December 3, 2010. 
  4. ^ SEE Magazine - May 25, 2006
  5. ^ a b c d

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