Joel Rafael
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Joel Rafael


Band Folk Acoustic


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"ROOTS! Guthrie Gets Played by David Wild"

Billy Bragg and Wilco demonstrated the enduring relevance of Woody Guthrie's music a few years back with "Mermaid Avenue". Here, the Joel Rafael Band provides a similar public service on its second collection of Guthrie and Guthrie-ish songs. don't miss the moving version of Guthrie's "Stepstone", which finds Rafael sharing vocal duties with Jackson Browne and another Guthrie admirer by the name of Arlo. - Rolling Stone - May 19, 2005


2005 - Woodyboye: Songs of Woody Guthrie (and tales worth telling) Volume II (Appleseed Recordings), ***, Rolling Stone, May 19, 2005 issue

2003 - Woodeye: Songs of Woody Guthrie (Inside Recordings)

2000 - Hopper (Inside Recordings), AFIM Best Contemporary Folk nominee

1996 - Old Wood Barn (Reluctant Angel Records), GAVIN Magazine Americana Hot Pick

1994 - Joel Rafael Band (Reluctant Angel Records), 1994 California Country Music Award

2003 - Spain In My Heart (Appleseed Recordings)

2001 - The Folkscene Collection, Volume III (Red House Records)

2001 - If I Had A Song: The Songs of Pete Seeger, Volume II (Appleseed Recordings)



Joel Rafael is an award winning, internationally recognized songwriter from San Diego County, California. Among his accomplishments was winning the Kerrville Folk Festival "New Folk Emerging Songwriter Award" in 1995.

Rafael is also considered to be one of the most natural interpreters of Woody Guthrie's songs, and has been a featured performer at the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Woody's hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma since it's inception a decade ago. His two most recent CDs on Inside Recordings (an independent record company started by Jackson Browne and his management team) contain over two-dozen Woody Guthrie compositions including five previously unpublished Woody Guthrie lyrics to which Rafael composed the music. The lyrics were given to Joel by Nora Guthrie, Woody's daughter, who directs the "Woody Guthrie Archives" and administrates the use of Woody's written and illustrated works.

Rafael has three other recordings of original material, and is currently working on a new album of his own songs. He has toured the U.S. extensively over the last decade both as a solo artist and with the Joel Rafael Band (Jamaica Rafael on violin, Carl Johnson on guitar, and Jeff Berkley on percussion). Rafael is a member of the national touring cast of "Ribbon Of Highway Endless Skyway" (a revue honoring Woody's songs and writings), which also features Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Jimmy LaFave, Bob Childers, Eliza Gilkyson, Slaid Cleaves, Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines.