Joe Whyte

Previewing His Upcoming CD "The Lower 48"

Joe Whyte seems to have reached the point in his career that most singer/songwriters strive for. He is comfortable as a writer - even if that means knowing that less is more - and he's balanced the medium of acoustic and electric guitars in his music.

White's soon-to-be-released CD, "The Lower 48," demonstrates his knack for taking an acoustic-based song through a complete electrical-coffee-shop-to-theater metamorphosis. The goal according to Whyte: writing the best song possible; if only four chords are needed, that's all the better.

"I'm kind of proudest of my new record out of all of them," Whyte said.

To Whyte, a New Jersey-based artist, the album is the closest representation of who he is. While, in the past, he has released mainly rock records and followed them up with mostly acoustic shows, the new album shows the full picture with both acoustic- and electric-based guitars, he said. Whyte strategically used the acoustic guitar on the recording to maintain the acoustic basis of his songs, which consist of his signature sweet melodies and vast mood ranges.

Though he is still waiting to release the disc, he has already played its songs out live. He has found his audiences to be very receptive. "The reaction is absolutely overwhelming and it's not even out yet," Whyte said.

Now that the CD is done, he will play out more and try to expose his new music to as many people as possible. Once it is released, he will seek distribution for it.

"I can focus more on playing live and putting the songs out there," Whyte said.

Taking trips through some highly-competitive music scenes like Hoboken, New York City and Ireland have fostered his development as a songwriter.

The scene in Ireland continues to boom with talent always being added. "It's pretty receptive to singer/songwriters, which is good," Whyte said. American music still shows its presence on the radio there. But, when you compare American radio to that of Ireland you will find more musicians who write their own songs in the latter, said Whyte.

Ireland's music industry is focused on career construction over one-hit-wonder creation, he said. "It's a little different than the American market where in 20 to 30 seconds they want to hear a chorus or they change the channel," he said. "They listen more there."

Here in the U.S., promotion has gotten easier with the Internet and sites like CD Baby, White said. However, as those types of sites have become flooded with musicians, being recognized on them has become tough. It may have reached a level where anyone with a CD burner, microphone and guitar can try to make a name for themselves by going that route, he said.

Listeners must now sift through song after song and for every 40 that are sampled, "you have five that blow you away," he said. Whyte, however, managed to achieve success on the nationally-known, which featured a track from his upcoming release during the week of Nov. 28.

His songs - some of which come from personal experiences - mainly focus on relationships. The key to telling a good story is taking the standard "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets stomped on" approach and adding a new perspective to it, he said.

"How to be new, and I don't want to say clever, but how to do it in a different way," he said.

And, of course, providing variety.

"Nothing is really out of the realm of possibility of what I can write about," Whyte said.

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Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.