With the lyrical weight of Leonard Cohen and the adventurous sonic landscape of Elvis Costello, True North recording artist Joel Kroeker is a must see. "If there's a story so far in Canada, it's Joel Kroeker!" - The Sun Joel's new album, Closer to the Flame, includes the number 1 hit "Deja Vu".


The Latest News:
- Joel's song "Deja Vu" has been in the Top Ten at radio for 12 weeks and the video just hit number one!
- Joel's had over 17 covers done of his songs in the last year
- He just got back from Japan where he shot his latest video for "AGAINST MYSELF" in the streets of Tokyo
- Joel has won awards for "BEST NEW RECORDING ARTIST" and "FILM SCORE OF THE YEAR"

"I wrote this album on a hundred thousand mile journey that began over fifteen years ago. There's blood in these songs. As there is in any genuine offering. My wish is that some of this music resonates deep in the soul and offers a torch as you keep walking your own path." - Joel Kroeker

Joel Kroeker continues his quest to stretch the borders of the pop music landscape with the release of "Closer To The Flame".

"Closer To The Flame" is the follow-up to "Melodrama" the Vancouver-based singer/songwriter's 2004 album on True North Records. Both were recorded with producer Danny Greenspoon at Toronto's Canterbury Sound.

A songwriter with incisive personal and political insights, Joel displays a strong sense of confidence in "Closer To The Flame." He acknowledges that recording, as well as performing, the songs on "Melodrama" provided him with insight in how to best shape his music.

"When I approach a song I'm always looking for that moment of transformation where the light balances the shadows," he explains. "That happened with some of the songs on "Melodrama" but it really came through on this record. This is a more hopeful album."

The title track, according to Joel, encapsulates the album's primary theme: The quest for spiritual transformation after one's life has been swept up in an emotional hurricane. Within the calm after the storm, one picks up the remaining pieces and carries on to create a new life. "The flame refers to that internal source within that can guide us along the path, especially in times of personal tragedy," he explains.

"Closer To The Flame" is filled with observations of a spiritual world traveler. Topics include dealing with the different anxieties of belonging to a troubled global community ("Sacred Heart", "Remember The Song", and "You Feel It"); pressures of distractions keeping people from experiencing inner harmony ("Against Myself"); and conflicts of the heart ("King Of Hearts").

"I'm quite proud of "Sacred Heart", says Joel. It's about honestly and courageously facing that restless spirit that motivates so much of what we do in this world. It's about transformation against all odds and the internal alchemy of the soul."

For the album Joel drew inspiration from varied sources, including from walking the strife-ridden streets of Bethlehem rife with Israeli /Palestinian tensions to growing up in the prairie flatlands. Joel still calls himself a Winnipegger but he has been a man forever on the move. He has traveled throughout Europe, the Middle East, Thailand, Mexico, Greece, Haiti and New Zealand. Since 2003, he has lived in Vancouver.

"As a songwriter," he observes, it's helpful to travel because you find inspiration in different places." "These Quiet Streets" was inspired from when Joel was in Bethlehem in 1997. The Israeli army had enforced a civilian lockdown due to a car bombing in a nearby town. Nobody could leave the area. However, Joel and some friends decided to test if foreigners were also subject to the restrictions. As they walked toward the barricades, the 19-year-old Israeli guards there jumped to alert. At that moment, says Joel, he glimpsed the insanity of the power differentials in the world. Here were Israeli teenagers in uniform with Uzi machine guns screaming orders to Arab detainees with hands behind their backs, lined up on their knees with their heads against the fence.

"I watched an elderly Arab woman whisper words of assurance into a child's ear, probably her grandson", recalls Joel. "I realized how much more powerful the whispering voice of compassion is than the hollering of conquest. That contrast went straight to my heart."

The chorale-styled "Hymn Number One" reflects Joel's Mennonite heritage. "Writing that certainly took me back to my roots," he says. "The echoes of those confessional hymns are still with me. Some times the choir would sing with such force and resonance that the church bench would actually vibrate right into my bones."

Another song drawn from Joel's past is "At The Drive In." He recalls a childhood memory of laying on the roof of his dad's yellow 1974 Duster watching "Star Wars" in 1978. Joel missed much of the film because he became caught up in watching the rising moon arc across the sky. "Driving across Canada you still see old abandoned drive-ins," says Joel. "Hay fields with fences around them. It's an age gone by. The song is about how we often get caught up in the mad rush of life while small pleasures can be very simple."

Joel began playing guitar while in high school in Winnipeg, performing in differ




am i crazy to remember the way that we were
one cold november heaven froze whil inside we burned
am i crazy for living so long and so much
and for keeping on loving the things that i love

am i crazy to believe in the dreams that we had
you said we lost it all to the weather like a holiday gone bad

but only the good stuff is left now for both of us we're broken down the angels win but we're too tough to pack it in
so stay awake no we've come this far can't blame me for tdreaming too hard
only the good stuff...

can we stay awake now we've come this far
you can't blame me for dreaming too hard
look at you lilke a shooting star
one flash and we're back in the dark
but only the good stuff is left now for both of us we're broken down the angels win but we're too tough to pack it in
so stay awake no we've come this far can't blame me for tdreaming too hard
only the good stuff...

am i crazy for loving everythign that i lost
the very best part of this life is still to come you know

only the good stuff


See videos for the following at

DEJA VU (number one hit for 16 weeks!)

CLOSER TO THE FLAME (2007) on True North Records/Universal

MELODRAMA (2004) on True North Records/Universal

NAIVE BOHEMIAN (1999) on Dancing Monk Productions

Set List

Original music