Joe Vickers
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Joe Vickers

Drumheller, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Drumheller, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Folk Country




"Roots Music Column - Joe Vickers"

Joe Vickers is a young songwriter from Drumheller, and with the Drumheller Valley celebrating its Mining Centennial this year he has produced an ambitious and enjoyable collection of music tracing the history of the region.

Valley Home is a collection of original songs of the Drumheller region with a focus on the stories and impact of the coal mining experience. Thematically reminiscent to fellow Albertan Maria Dunn’s We Were Good People which examined the labour history of western Canada, Valley Home educates as it entertains.

Utilizing a variety of approaches, sounds, and tempos, Vickers has created a compelling and insightful account of his home community. The music is rustic with lots of acoustic guitar, fiddle, and banjo coming through the neo-traditional mix. Vocally, Vickers sounds a bit like Paul Burch.

More than a history lesson- although it is indeed that- Valley Home is an engaging set of lively folk-inspired music. A broad cross-section of tales is revealed: pit ponies, the flooded Red Deer River, Allan Cup champions, ghost towns, miners, and madams.

“Into the Darkness” captures the starkness of the mines of a hundred years ago. The energetic instrumental “Boomtown Bustle” reflects the frenzied growth of the towns that rose around the collieries. Vickers borrows from “Down in the Willow Garden” to frame “Young Black Lungs,” telling the tale of a miner who finds that “the place I slave is now my grave.”

The accompanying 24-page booklet provides lyrics and additional information about the area and Vickers’ inspiration. For additional information on this recording, start at, or drive to the southwest; the album is available at Drumheller Valley outlets including the Atlas Coal Mine and the East Coulee School Museum. - Fervor Coulee

"Joe Vickers Announces New EP, Tour Dates"

Posted by Steven Farkas on October 28th, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Leave a comment

Joe VickersDrumheller, AB folk punk troubadour Joe Vickers has announced a series of shows across Canada in support of his Patient/Medicine Bag double EP, due to drop on November 13th via Dusty45 Records and will be available digitally, on CD and vinyl.

Check out the track list and his upcoming shows below.

Track list:

1. Dreamcatcher
2. Broken Wings
3. Cherry Pie
4. Kitchen Floor
5. Medicine Bag
6. Weatherworn
7. Every Day
8. Embers
9. Ruthless River
10. Royal Reserve

Tour dates:

Nov 6 : Quebec City, QC @ Le Scanner

Nov 7 : Riviere-du-Loup, QC @ Aus Foux Brassant

Nov 8 : Montreal, QC @ Cafe Touski

Nov 9 : Ottawa, ON @ Daily Grind

Nov 10 : Kingston, ON @ TBA

Nov 11 : Toronto, ON @ Belljar Cafe

Nov 13 : Drumheller, AB @ Legion Hall

Nov 14 : Calgary, AB @ Palomino (followed by Ridley Bent, Dustin Bentall, Leeroy Stagger)

Nov 15 : Edmonton, AB @ Pawn Shop

Nov 18 : Vancouver, BC @ Railway Club - The Punk Site

"Show Preview: Joe Vickers (ca) Live @ Vodka Bar in Prague, CZ"

Event description

JOE VICKERS, the voice of Canadian folk punk group, Audio/Rocketry will be slinging a backpack and guitar across his shoulders for his first solo European tour. His acoustic performances combine fast folk-inspired strumming with melodic storytelling, keeping audiences stomping along song by song. Drawing influence from diverse artists like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Against Me!, and The Avett Brothers, Vickers brings an upbeat performance with the distinct sound of Canadian artistry.

30 KC shots ABSOLUT VODKA, all flavors -

"Joe Vickers to play Tavern on Main"

Hailing from the dinosaur-laden badlands of Drumheller, Edmonton-based singer-song­writer Joe Vickers is bringing his brand of folksie bluegrass to the oilsands, tonight at the Tavern on Main.

The 24-year-old recent Uni­versity of Alberta grad released his second solo album in July, compiling a diverse array of songs, blending roots, bluegrass and east coast folk with poeti­cally written tales of Alberta coal mining.

"I wrote a paper in univer­sity pertaining to coal mining in Alberta .... While I was research­ing, I was digging up many sto­ries that I was unfamiliar with, and that's when I started uncov­ering all these vast tales from this town I grew up in, of these coal miners, union men, the labour struggles, and other stuff that really appealed to me," said Vick­ers between mouthfuls of tea from his home in the province's capital.

"I also had grandparents that played a strong role in shaping my youth," he continued. "I spent lots of time with them, so grow­ing up with their stories of their upbringing and their town, those stories have really stuck with me.

"Being a songwriter, it's a natu­ral endeavor to translate these stories into songs and share them with my family and friends, and the audience, too."

A by-product of his living situ­ation, Vickers says he found his unique solo sound after moving to Edmonton five years ago.

"I moved to the city, and I was living in an apartment, so I reverted back to the acoustic guitar. That's when I started to really get into the 60s folk revival - Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan - and started modeling my style of music from them."

After experiencing trouble breaking into the local music scene, Vickers busked on the streets of Edmonton before hook­ing up with Matt Murphy and Blair Drover, forming the band audio/rocketry, who released their third studio album last spring.

"When I started audio/rocketry, it was intended to be an outlet, where there was no restrictions on the style of music, but as the band developed, we've cultivated our own sound that goes with the live experience," said Vickers.

"(Valley Home) really allowed me to go outside the confines of the style of music that we typi­cally play. This album really includes a more broad style and sound. I was really able to endeavor into playing styles such as bluegrass, roots, and I even have a song that's more of a gypsy waltz. It's really pushed me to experiment with different styles, and creatively, it's really pushed me to try new things in terms of song-writing."

Majoring in social studies, Vickers say he relies on his edu­cation to help him approach the historical and social aspects of his music. While the reoccurring coal mining themes in his music are specific to Alberta, he hopes his style can help make it relat­able to people in different loca­tions but similar industries.

"Being able to sing songs that are based in a different local, but have themes that are universal, I've witnessed how people were relating their own stories to the songs," he explained. "I think by coming to a community like Fort McMurray, even though these stories are dealing with the coal mining of the past, maybe people can relate to them with their own experience."

Vickers plays tonight at 9 p.m. No cover at the door. - Fort McMurray Today

"Joe Vickers & Spencer Jo"

It'll be a busy night down at the Black Dog this Wednesday. Not only are Joe Vickers and Spencer Jo releasing The Kitchen Chorus Songbook, but Vickers—best known as the man behind Audio/Rocketry—will also release a solo album entitled Valley Home, about his hometown Drumheller. Vickers and Jo took the time to outline their musical histories.

First Album
Joe Vickers: Green Day, Dookie. My sister and I spent a lot of time listening to this album in the '90s. Being my first album, I remember the excitement and novelty of staring at the cover artwork and reading the liner notes on multiple occasions.
Spencer Jo: The first album I ever bought was Rap Traxx 3 (1989). Found it in a bin of tapes at a neighbourhood garage sale. It was a dope mix. De La Soul, Beastie Boys, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Young MC, etc. Best 25 cents I ever spent.

First Concert
JV: My parents took me to a Celine Dion concert when I was a kid. Beauty and the Beast era, I believe.
SJ: Ma tells me she took me, as an infant, to a Garth Brooks show.

Last album
JV: I just purchased Trampled by Turtles' Palomino. I absolutely fell in love with this album over the summer and it currently ranks among my top favourites.
SJ: Today, I picked up Don't Pray by No River. It's drinkin' fightin' cryin' country music.

Last concert
JV: The last concert I saw was at the Masonic Hall in Drayton Valley where I was playing with a couple local bands. Coincidentally, this hall was the first venue I ever played with Audio/Rocketry and it was exciting and inspiring to see that the town's local music community is just as active as it was five years ago.
SJ: Mariachi El Bronx recently did a surprise show at a little Calgary pub called Broken City. It was mental.

Favourite album
JV: Emotionalism by the Avett Brothers. While I'm a huge fan of their other albums, these songs were my introduction to the band and I always seem to revert back to this album for that particular reason. I love the clever lyrics, immaculate vocal harmonies, and catchy melodies. I recommend this album to everyone.
SJ: It's one of five Tom Waits albums, depending on my mood: Closing Time, Nighthawks at the Diner, Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs or Bone Machine.

Musical guilty pleasure
JV: Rod Stewart … I saw him perform live in Edmonton last year. I've never seen so many screaming middle-aged women.
SJ: Rap Traxx 3

Wed, Nov 9 (10 pm)
Black Dog - Vue Weekly Magazine

"Joe Vickers explores Drumheller coal mining history in song"

Joe Vickers explored another of his musical sides during late announced set at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, June 27. Vickers, who usually plays with Edmonton based alt-folk duo Audio Rocketry,
explored the coal mining roots of his hometown Drumheller in song.

He, a stand up bassist and a mandolinist who were also from Drumheller played a tight set of upbeat folk and roots music which dabbled in country music and even a touch of bluegrass.

Vickers sang impassioned stories about miner and their families, war widows and even floods n their ear opening and thought provoking set.

After a set by Steve Foord, Vickers started his set with the uptempo “Pioneer Road,” then told the intently listening audience about the adventures at his other Lethbridge shows.

“ I played with my buddy Spencer Jo and somebody actually proposed, so I can’t wait to see what happens tonight,” Vickers told the dozen or so in attendance. - The Lethbridge Alberta Beat

"Joe Vickers is releasing his latest EP on a package of coffee beans"

Joe Vickers is a busy man: he fronts Edmonton-based rock band Audio/Rocketry, works seven months of the year on his family farm in southern Alberta and spends the winter in Portland, Oregon with his wife (who is currently posted there for school), all while trying to juggle his own solo music career.

It’s his solo endeavour that has been on the back burner up until recently, but Vickers is heading out on a Western Canada tour and releasing three new tracks on an EP titled Cowboy Coffee. The album will be available as a digital download code on a package of coffee beans, roasted under the name Friendly Folk.

“I was planning to release [the songs] as a seven-inch, but the waiting time is really long these days with the high demand of vinyl pressing,” Vickers explains over the phone, taking a break from packing said coffee beans. “So I decided to seek an alternative way of releasing these songs. I had this homeroaster that gave up the ghost, [and] I just thought, well, maybe I could justify a new purchase if I release these songs as a digital download code on a package of coffee.”

The concept was inspired by a collaboration Vickers saw that involved a band distributing an album on a six-pack of beer, which contained a digital code for download. The trio of songs on Cowboy Coffee were recorded over three days in March at Rock ‘N Roll Bed & Breakfast, a residential recording studio in Sauvie Island, OR. The EP will only be available with the coffee until the tour is over, but the tracks will be available as MP3s in November.

Vickers’ songs carry a strong Canadian prairie narrative. The track “Brokeback,” for example, tells the story of a son writing a letter to his father about being queer, which was inspired by cowboys Vickers met at the Hand Hills Rodeo who expressed the prejudices they experienced. For Vickers, that prairie narrative comes from growing up on a farm near Drumheller, and continuing to work on it every spring and summer.

“It’s not something that I try to specifically write about the prairies. It’s just I’m a prairie boy, so it’s within me … I’m deeply rooted in the priaires,” he says. “I find inspiration in the ordinary, and I try to present a perspective, whether it’s something I observe or something I’ve encountered. I would say, especially with these new songs, they’re inspired by moments that I lived or inspired by people that I know.” - VUE Magazine


Valley Home (2011)

Kitchen Chorus Songbook with Spencer Jo (2011)

Medicine Bag EP (2014)

Patient EP (2014)



The badlands in Sergio Leone's epic spaghetti westerns evoke images of colourful characters with plenty of grit. Raised on the badlands of southern Alberta, Joe Vickers music taps into a similar creative vein through his heartfelt song writing. The characters in his songs are vivid creations who experience the triumphs and tragedies of everyday life on the prairies.

 The travelling troubadour has logged countless miles sharing his songs with anyone willing to listen. He has toured across Canada extensively as the front man for folk punk group, Audio/ Rocketry. He travelled by train cross country, playing small shows on board along the way. He has backpacked across Europe with his guitar and a backpack full of merch, playing everywhere from all-night bars to punk squats while utilizing all means of transportation from ride shares to hitchhiking. Over the years, Vickers has shared the stage with gypsy artists of a similar mind, from Trampled by Turtles to The Menzingers to Austin Lucas. Today he continues to travel, sharing his music with fans across the country, but always returning to work his family farm near Drumheller, Alberta each spring. 

 The wear of constant travel leaves an indelible mark on the soul. Joe Vickers has grown as an artist over time. On his new release, he explores the human spirit. The double EP has two distinctive, yet complementary themes. Patient tells the stories of people in need of healing. An emotional weight lays over the 5 tracks. These are dark tales of broken people who are looking for a light. On Medicine Bag, the characters have a more positive outlook, enjoying the hidden beauty in everyday life. These tracks are a celebration of place, an honest look at the home that holds an important place within his heart. The release showcases Vickers most accomplished song writing to date.

The Patient/ Medicine Bag double EP is being released in both digital and physical formats. The package is also being pressed in vinyl, creating a functional piece of art for folk music fans.

Band Members