Joe Strouzer
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Joe Strouzer

London, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Blues Folk




"Joe Strouzer - Bottle Broke Review"

From Newcastle, to London (via Bristol), and now to New Orleans, LA and the world, Joe Strouzer is something of a phenomenon. Proclaiming his dark blues and folk with forthrightness, honesty and humour, Joe is a player and singer of quality and insight. We grabbed a copy of his latest release, the five-track Bottle Broke, and found out more about how he blends the modern and the historic, the local and the universal.

With his guitar in hand, and his bluesharp to his lips, Joe’s constant touring and appearances in different guises allows audiences to hear his songs of experience, from his North-East roots through his life in London and New Orleans. Coming after his self-recorded Locomotion and Devilment of 2012, and last year’s A Dime’s Worth O’ Lard, Live In My Back Yard, Bottle Broke is Joe’s first studio offering, on which he takes the music he is so obviously steeped in, and applies it to his own situations. After all, isn’t that what the blues is really all about?

It’s also about taking local references and blending them with music which works universally, and that is something you find throughout Bottle Broke. A release equally steeped in London life as it is in New Orleans-derived sounds, Joe effortlessly steers his way between the immediate and the ineffable. The moods and feelings captured in his songwriting transmit themselves into the EP as a whole, very much giving insight into his world throughout.

He captures both feeling and emotion in the harmonica overture of opener Hard Times, Rough Track, which leads on into the guitar melody. Through his lyrics, he relates reflections on the life he’s led, and the places he’ led it in.

Bottle…’s recording sounds natural and unforced, with what I imagine was quite a simple set-up. And it’s presented very well. It’s always nice to see when effort has gone into the presentation of a physical product, and the CD version of Bottle… comes with some interesting photos and illustrations by Joe himself. Hotdog And A Nail is a soft, rolling story of fishing and improvisation, recounting an episode from a NOLA trip. The song’s charming humour (“bacon on a screw…”) contrasts well with the gripping, involving follow up, Angel’s Share, on which the quiet intensity of the guitar opening segues into an honest, beguiling main section.

The soaring vocals of Dragonflies help the song contrast the natural and the rural with the gritty and the urban, bringing the listener in with a close and intimate recording, before the astounding closer, Cable Street. Here, Strouzer’s grandfather, Sidney, recounts the story of the Battle Of Cable Street. Sidney was born in Whitechapel in 1914, and the samples which the piece contains are taken from an interview with Joe’s dad, recorded on a dictaphone in the 1990s. They are set to a loping, rolling backdrop, allowing Joe to draw attention to the events of 1936 – important both in terms of personal history but also in terms of the history of London itself. The recording interweaves song with spoken recollections, with Joe taking effort to relate the history to his own experience and to modern times.

Bottle Broke is a sensitive, emotional set of songs on which we find a master singer, guitarist and harmonica player find strength and purpose through his own words and music.

Joe Strouzer – Bottle Broke

Released August 1st 2015

Available at - Bristol Roots


Bottle Broke : 2015
A Dime's Worth O' Lard, Live In My Back Yard : 2014
Locomotion And Devilment : 2012



A harmonica player, blues shouter and guitar picker, Joe Strouzer sings songs from his travels from Newcastle to New Orleans and a hell of a lot of places in between.  His driving resonator guitar is coupled with true harmonica voodoo and biting songwriting of modern trouble, heartpains, moonlit trysts, drinking and devilment, peppered with a rich history of blues. 

On harmonica Joe was picked as London's best busker by Vice Magazine, collaborating with them, X Ambassadors and Jamie N Commons in their Made Underground series, has supported blues guitar legend Johnny Winter and performed all over the UK, Europe and America including London's Royal Festival Hall, Divan Du Monde in Paris, Made In America Festival and 432 N Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, The Bluesberry Cafe in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Royal Street in New Orleans, Glastonbury Festival , Hop Farm Festival and Secret Garden Party.

2015 sees the release of his studio debut, Bottle Broke.

"The only British guy I've ever liked" Blind Texas Marlin

Band Members