Joe and Vicki Price

Joe and Vicki Price

 Decorah, Iowa, USA

Independent Music Award winners Joe & Vicki Price a righteous, joyful, foot-stomping jubilee. This music is flavored more to the juke joint end of the blues: a bit rough and tons of fun. Grammy nominated folk singer Greg Brown calls Joe Price, "the Buddha".




In 1951, this current incarnation of Joe Price arrived in Waterloo, Iowa. Unlike most kids of his generation, Price was never seduced by pop or rock ‘n’ roll music. Although his love for music was virtually immediate, it was country blues that grabbed him early; a bond that has never been broken.

When he was nine, his brother Butch joined the service and left Joe his guitar. “I’ve been playing since 1960,” he recalls, “and I’ve always played the way I do. I had a mailman teach me some stuff when I was a kid. He would come by when I was playing on the porch and tune my guitar. He showed my how to play ‘Red River Valley’ and ‘You Are My Sunshine’ finger-style, tunes I still play to this day.”

It was a chance encounter with the late, great Chicago bluesman Earl Hooker, who the young Price caught in performance at a home town record store, that really sealed the deal. “He was unbelievable, that guy—he really flipped me out,” Price remembers. “He told me to cut the end of a bicycle handlebar off to make a good slide.”

In 1971 Joe had made the move to Iowa City. It was a fertile time and place for the blues. Located on I-80, Iowa City was a natural stop for national touring artists connecting Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. Beginning with the Rocket 88’s (through 1974) and continuing with the legendary Mother Blues (an edgy, three-headed beast featuring Patrick Hazell, Bo Ramsey and Price) from ‘75 till ’81, Joe played virtually non-stop. During that stretch, the bands worked almost nightly, crisscrossing Midwestern bars and serving as the openers of choice at high-profile shows by Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor, Clifton Chenier, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, James Cotton and more.

IN 1982 Joe escaped to Lansing in northeast Iowa. The picturesque burg happens to be near Waukon, the hometown of a pretty young blues belter, Vicki Ewing, who had captured his attention during a 1981 solo gig. Vicki was working as the bartender and got up during the break to perform some of her own tunes, the beginning of a new musical adventure for both of them.

Growing up in a remote rural setting easily could turn out to be a severe disadvantage to a fledgling musician. But for Vicki (Ewing) Price, the quiet of rural life afforded lots of opportunity for practice and performance. Local country, blues and R&B-influenced gospel available during her formative years in Waukon, Iowa forged a distinctive, blues-belting guitarist.

It was a television performance by the legendary folk singer Odetta that positively galvanized the 12-year-old Vicki Ewing. “I saw Odetta and I just went nuts I told my mom, this is what I want to be.” Mama Ewing, to her credit, took her daughter’s dream seriously, and as soon as she could fill sufficient Green Stamps books to swing the deal, Vicki was the proud and eager recipient of a brand new acoustic guitar. 

Joe and Vicki married in 1987, after having toured together for five years. Over their 27 years together they have opened for such notables as John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, Pine Top Perkins, Homesick James, Honeyboy Edwards, Louisiana Red, Al Green, Greg Brown and Iris DeMent. The creative, musical impact of this pairing was and remains a bustling two-way street in nearly every way imaginable, and the artistic achievements of both partners are irrevocably intertwined.  The on-stage interplay between Joe and Vicki makes that connection clear.

The couple released five CD’s on Iowa’s Trailer Records. Joe’s 25 Below in 1996, Request in 1999 and Designated Drive in 2000; Vicki’s Mississippi Summer in 1998 and Looking for Love in 2005. Sadly, in 2007 Trailer Records shut its’ doors. Taking the initiative the couple released two CD’s on their label Blues Acres Productions; in October of 2008 A Brand New Place which features 10 new tunes penned by Vicki and in March of 2009 Joe’s collection of original songs Rain or Shine. Both releases made the top 100 CD’s of 2009 in Real Blues Magazine. A Brand New Place was nominated for Best independent release at the International Blues Challenge in 2008, Rain or Shine was nominated for 2009. Rain or Shine wins Best Blues CD 2009 by the Independent Music Awards and has received rave reviews in major publications including Vintage Guitar Magazine, The American Music Guide, Blues Revue and the Chicago Sun Times. Joe is a member of the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame and the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he was a finalist in the 2008 International Blues Challenge. He and Vicki were given an Official Showcase at the Far-West Folk Alliance conference in 2011.

From coast to coast, and from concerts, to clubs, to outdoor festivals, the Price's singular vision and dazzling, irresistible live performances continue to etch a steady, upward arc.


Buddy Guys - Chicago, IL
Taste of Minnesot


Hornet Nest

Written By: Joe Price

The boss gets so mad she can melt the snow.
Hot as a hornet, buzzin' all over Joe.
I'm here to tell you if you know what's best.
Cause you ain't doin' nothing but knocking down a hornet nest.

Now your raising cane out loud and clear.
It's a low down shame for these poor old ears.
I hate to tell you about all the rest.
Cause you ain't doin' nothing but knocking down a hornet nest.

Not one word do you say do I believe.
Your mother don't trust you, what's up your sleeve.
Just one time you must confess.
Cause you ain't doin' nothing but knocking down a hornet nest.

A Beer Away

Written By: Vicki Price

He calls me up,
He needs a ride.
He's at that bar and he's to drunk to drive.
I said, "Get another beer and drink it slow. By the time you finish I'll be ready to roll."

I'm a beer away,
I'm a beer away,
I'm a beer away, call me night or day.
I'm only a beer away.

He call's me up,
He's in jail.
Could I come down and go his bail.
I get another beer, I'm gonna drink it slow.
I'll give him time to stew, than I'll be ready to roll.

We're out together on Saturday night.
He wants some lovin' but his timing ain't right.
I said, "Get another beer and drink it slow. By the time you finish, I'll be ready to roll."



RAIN OR SHINE (Feb. 2009)
WINNER Independent Music Awards best Blues CD 2009.

One man… one guitar… one voice… shaped by a lifetime of bad luck, blues and trouble, yet joyful and resolute. This is Joe Price at his finest, playing the music he loves on his own terms with the kind of authenticity and unique style I’ve admired over the years — rain or shine. The ghosts of slide guitar masters like Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor and Mississippi Fred McDowell live in these 10 heartfelt electric and acoustic originals marked by Price’s indelible stamp. From gritty blues (“Joe’s Guitar Stomp,” “Too Little Too Late”), to house rockin’ numbers (“Beer Tent Boogie Woogie”) and honey-sweet ballads (“Nellie Bell”), Price delivers on all accounts. Wife Vicki lends a deft hand on “Steel Guitar,” while drummer Keni Ewing and trumpeter Al Naylor help create the danceable “Rock Slide.”
By Michael Swanger City View Des Moines, IA 2/2009

...Joe Price holds a long-established position as one of this planet's most distinctive and incendiary blues mavens. Famously cited as "The Buddha" by Greg Brown for his unerring ability to conjure unforgettable original material that fairly reeks of the mysteriously sensual, voodoo funk of vintage, long-departed masters, Price dishes out ten more roadhouse roof-raisers on his brand-new "Rain or Shine."

....Front-and-center on each track are Price's sizzling, sliding, careening guitar and infectious boot-stomping, with Joe's haunted, driven vocals adorning half the cuts, interleaved among five riveting instrumentals. ....Fresh-brewed but steeped in the ages, it's an all-weather house party... By Jim Musser Iowa City, IA PRESS CITIZEN February 19,2009


"A righteous, joyful, foot-stomping jubilee" .... Jim Musser Press Citizen, Iowa City, IA

Husband and wife duo Joe and Vicki Price don't just play the blues, they live the blues, and you can feel it in Vicki's aching vocals and Joe's soulful slide guitar throughout their new album, "A Brand New Place." The Iowa couple delivers 10 original country blues songs written by Vicki that sound like they would have been a hit for the Vocalion record label during the 1920s or 1930s, but as a testament to their timeless lyrical and musical qualities, are just as meaningful in the 21st century. "My Man," the album's stellar lead track, is a good example of the interplay between Joe and Vicki, as Joe's stinging guitar buzzes like a bee around Vicki's honey-like vocals and rhythm guitar. They go together like sugar and spice.
---Michael Swanger CITY VIEW DesMoines, IA

Climb in the back seat, shut up and listen. Eastern Iowa country bluesman Joe Price is gonna take you on a joyride with his new CD “Designated Driver.”

The 33-minute trip tears through nine original Price tunes plus the public domain gem “Red River Valley.” The album’s brevity and jaunty pace works in its favor; studio blues sets these days rarely come charged with this much raw energy, which propels the listener clean through and immediately demands a repeat listen. He’s shared stages with Southern-born blues legends such as Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, but these songs are firmly rooted in Price’s own Midwest territory.”
--Kyle Munson, Des Moines Register Music Critic

Price’s first digital effort is also his most adventurous musically. The use of several different guitars produce a variety of interesting tones (the distortion sound on “Tornado Blues” sounds like it was actually picked up in a Kansas twister) and a variety of backup musicians, including a brass band called the Unified Jazz Ensemble, make for a diverse listening experience. Wife Vicki Price sits in on a nice guitar duet called “Supro Serenade,” and Dave Moore plays harmonica and accordion on a few tunes, including the excellent slow blues of the title track.

--Mike Starling, La Crosse Tribune

…he plays the guitar as if guided by hands from the Next World, the term “guitarist” seems woefully inadequate, too. An inspired Primitive who oozes the essence of the blues in a manner so untouched by modern developments as to suggest he tumbled through a crack in Time…. His first CD, 1996’s amazing 25 Below, was a revelation to those who missed his heyday in Iowa City and a reaffirmation to those who didn’t. Requests collects all 20 tracks from 1992’s Iowa Crawl and 1994’s Mountain of Blues (previously available only on self-released cassettes) on a glorious, split-rail CD. And if you thought I’d say it was anything less than astounding, then you just haven’t been paying attention.

--Jim Musser, Icon Music Editor-Iowa City, Iowa

Joe & Vicki Price
Blues Acres Productions
PO Box 32
Decorah, IA 52101
563-419-8793 Cell

Set List

We play almost all original material. The adverage set is 1 1/2 hours and we do 2 to 3 sets a night.