Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears/ photo: Galea McGregor
BERWYN BLUES FESTIVAL (3 days)
Sept. 24-26 Shemekia Copeland, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Toronzo Cannon, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, Honey Island Swamp Band, Cedric Burnside, Thornetta Davis, Lil' Ed, Dave Specter, Joanna Connor, Nick Moss Band, Bette Smith, Vanessa Collier, John Primer, Mike Wheeler Band & much more!
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
Don’t miss this rare live appearance by Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, a band that has seen its ups and downs for the past two decades.
Black Joe Lewis has lived the blues and paid his dues. While trying to get his music career going in Austin, TX, Lewis has worked in a pawn shop, toiled as a fish monger and has done hard labor in construction. He’s also dabbled in comedy, which led him to his stage name; he was influenced by a Richard Pryor comedy album and the folk song “Old Black Joe” by Stephen Foster.
Black Joe Lewis and his band The Honeybears broke out of Austin in the first decade of the 21st century and became a national sensation, playing major festivals like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Coachello, appearing in a movie and on TV shows and receiving rave reviews and airplay for their many records. However, legal problems with management, agents and record labels ensued, along with strife among band members and Lewis dropped out of the music scene for a while. Lewis went back to working construction and lay low until things settled down.
But no sooner did the band get back together and resume touring in 2019, the pandemic shut everything down and all of the band’s dates were cancelled. So Lewis resumed his hard labor job in the construction field to support his family during the last 1 ½ years.
Happily, the band has just resumed touring and playing limited dates and FitzGerald’s is one of the stops!
Black Joe Lewis (born Tucson, Arizona, United States) is an American blues, funk and soul artist influenced by Howlin' Wolf and James Brown. He formed Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears in Austin, Texas in 2007. In March 2009, Esquire listed Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears as one of the "Ten Bands Set to Break Out at 2009's SXSW Festival."
While working at a pawn shop in Austin, Joe Lewis first picked up the guitar. Shortly thereafter, Joe Lewis immersed himself in the local Red River blues/garage scene, recording and performing with Austin musicians including the Weary Boys and Walter Daniels. Upon the release of the 2005 Brian Salvi produced Black Joe Lewis and The Cold Breeze EP with standout track "Bitch I Love You" featuring Matt Hubbard on Rhodes electric piano and the 2007 album Black Joe Lewis, both released on Italian label Shake Yo Ass Records, the band gained critical national acclaim and toured as openers for Spoon and Okkervil River in 2007.
The band signed to Lost Highway Records in 2008. Following the signing and performances at 2008's Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears released a four-song EP on January 27, 2009.
Their debut album Tell 'Em What Your Name Is! was released on March 17, 2009. It was produced by Spoon's drummer Jim Eno.
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears have performed at music festivals including Bonnaroo, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Bumbershoot, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Sasquatch! Music Festival, Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival, Musikfest, Latitude Festival, and Splendour in the Grass. The band has appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Show with David Letterman, Austin City Limits, and Later... with Jools Holland.
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears were featured in Echotone, a 2010 documentary about the Austin, Texas music scene.
In 2017, his album Backlash debuted at number 3 in the Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart.
To read more about Black Joe Lewis, visit: