Joe Izens Music and More…

You know by now, you always get more than you bargained for, in my musings.  Someone once said, “You cover a lot of territory, but in the end, always manage to get your point across!”  This one is no different!  Yes,  my blog consists of a great deal of self-promotion for my art and related products  But I’ve also shared the work of others which I was attracted to.  Though I wanted to hone in on the music of my friend, Joe Izen, It was also my desire to explain what brought the two of us together.


Through the years I’ve done a few art pieces in a feeble attempt to keep in front of people, the issue of homelessness. When I owned my trucks, the homeless was more “in my face” than for a lot of people, only because many of the places I delivered to was always “inner city”.  I can’t tell you the number of times I got parked in front of a shipper or receiver, crawled into the sleeper berth after a fifteen hundred mile run, only to have someone knock on the door in the wee hours;  “Hey buddy…  You need any help unloading in the morning?””  These guys didn’t beg, nor ask for handouts.  They wanted work.  And I wanted sleep.

When I began trucking, the last thing I wanted to do after running a Chicago/Sacramento load nearly straight through, was to “finger print” 45,000 pounds of popcorn, rice, raisins or whatever else I was hauling.  In THOSE days, I hauled a LOT of “floor” loads.  Freight that had to put taken off of the pallets, loaded on the trailer, then put BACK on pallets at the other end. The youngsters in the business today wouldn’t understand the terms of “regulated” or “unregulated” freight.  I earned a damn good living, hauling “unregulated”, which translated into a lot of “floor loads”.  Therefore, even though it ate into my profits, it was worth the $50.00 I was charged (keep in mind, this was the mid-to-late 70’s!) to have a couple of guys unload for me while I took a nap.

Inevitably, after the delivery had been completed, I had to ask:  “What got you here?”  I dunno.  Call it compassion?  Curiosity?  Sympathy?  I do not know.  I didn’t ask to be mean.  I could always tell, many of them didn’t want to be reminded of what “got them here”.  Others seemed relieved to be able to share their story.   Not that money cures everything, but there were so many times I wished I could have just written a check to those guys.  “Here is one years rent.  Here is grocery money for your family…..”  A new friend I met and hope to be able to spend more time with, recently observed, “You want to save the world…”   I don’t know.   Is that bad?  Not that they are selling like hot cakes, BUT the proceeds from ANYTHING sold in the “Forgotten” series, I’ve been sending to Omahas’ “Open Door Mission” as my way of repayment.  Sort of. 

The other day I received a note from a man who I consider a very good friend.  Though I’ve never had the privilege for an “in person” meet , I KNOW Joe to be a man of compassion.  Someone who possess a talent to communicate his heart through his music.  I don’t know that I will ever be able to meet Joe in person, BUT, simply through written communications and his music, I feel as if we’ve been lifelong friends…  Which is why THIS recent letter from him left me so excited and uplifted.

“I’ve begun advertising some of my songs on Cdbaby and Itunes as well as in order to reach a wider audience, and wrote a song a while back called “Somebody’s Child.” It’s deals with the homeless issue and I happened to notice a work of yours called “Legislate Me” which would make a good cover art for the digital download. I would love to be able to use it and give you credit each time it is posted. If that is something you would consider, I would be honored. Hope you are healing and that it won’t be to long before the shoulder is in good working order. Your friend, Joe”

I desperately try to communicate my heart and soul in my art, no matter if it is a floral piece, an animal…  Somehow translate the emotions to the paper…   Im certain I’ve not even touched the surface with regard to homelessness.  But Joe…  Joe has this ability…  His songs, his music, his voice truly touches my soul as I am sure it will YOURS if you give it a listen.  His is a touch of EVERYTHING:  Jazz, Blues…  Some tunes carry a Latin touch.  Some make you wanna dance.  Others make you think.  You will enjoy Rock, R & B and a little bit of Soul!   Listen to Joes rendition of “Amazing Grace“and tell me you don’t get tears in your eyes!  If it were on the old, vinyl record albums, I would have certainly worn out “These Tired Eyes” by now!  In Joes music, I can listen and my heart says, “YES!  I’ve been there!  I’ve lived it!  THAT is exactly what I wanted to say!”

So, I am honored, touched, excited and very complimented at the fact that Joe has incorporated one of my paintings as cover art for one of his songs.  It is as if the two belong together.  In this song, “Somebodys Child” Joe has put to words what I so wanted to communicate in “Legislate Me” (at the top of this page).  I thought it uncanny, as I listened to his song, and stared at my painting, how much they are alike!  I am flabbergasted that he decided to incorporate that art work into his music.

 “Joe is a native New Yorker and brings a soulful fire to his original songs. He has recorded for AVI Records, Barclay International, and ABC records. He is also a published songwriter with Warner Bros. Publishing Co. Joe has played on the stages from Avery Fisher Hall in N.Y to the clubs in LA and all points in between. “

You can hear a sample of Joes music on his website then click on “Media”.  His site is very well put together, and includes a couple of videos that I’ve enjoyed watching.  You can even see a few on Youtube!    Joe’s also on my Facebook Friends list if you want to visit him there.  More importantly, you can buy and download Joes music at the site called “CDBaby” or at itunes.

Give his music a listen,  share it with your friends!  And don’t forget about those less fortunate.  Our neighbors who for whatever the reason, need a lift-up…  A couple of bucks or can of food given to your local shelter will go a very long way…

Thanks for listenin’ !

And thank you Joe, for asking!  I am truly honored.

This entry was posted in Art & Culture, Bridges, Forgotten, Jazz, Latin Music, Posters Cards Gifts, R & B, Trucking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Joe Izens Music and More…

  1. joe Izen says:

    Dennis, thank you for the opportunity to meld your stunning art work with this song and for the kind words you wrote about my music. I had been searching for a piece of art which would describe to the eye this very serious problem in our nation. There is no justifiable reason why a country so rich in resources should have even one homeless person out there. Perhaps we can, by joining these pieces, call some attention to the homeless men, women and children who have become the neglected segment of our society. Bless you for your time and talents.


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