Outlaw Joey Only

Outlaw Joey Only


- Stompin-whistlin high energy country-punk is about as politically radical and working class as it gets while maintaining a clear link to the country/folk traditions of the past. With a voice like Johnny Cash and an attitude to boot you won't find such uniquely Canadian political folk rock anywhere


Joey Only is known as a philosophical rabble rousing rebel who sings radical bluesy-grass type country songs usually dressed in anarchist black/hillbilly style attire. In the 1996-98 he played electric bass in the legendary power punk metal freakband ‘the Persecuted’ from the little known village of Madoc Ontario. When the Persecuted broke up they were recognized as one of the all-time great Spiderland Punkfest acts, had released a record that was popular on many college stations and had played 55 shows across Ontario with some of the most remembered punk bands of the 90's. Soon Joey took up the accoustic guitar as his first instrument while sitting in for rock, blues, punk, jazz and even gospel acts at different times. After some time Joey Only changed his playing style and came to sing a wide variety of Johnny Cash numbers, Woody Guthrie songs, old folk tunes, old Wobbly union songs, prison songs and protest songs. Fast bluegrass rhythms came to him easy because of his days playing quick punk songs, with the accoustic guitar he could become a one person show by stomping and whistling while crooning with his deep dynamic voice.

Since 2001 Joey Only has made his way through Canada playing political folk music while taking part in revolutionary organizing, earning him both fans and jail time. Joey Only was one of the co-founders of several radical organizations including Belleville Ontario's successfull Tenant Action Group, his experience in TAG helped Joey meld politics and entertainment together neatly. At only 26 years of age his 10 years of professional music and front line political experience/activism has given him an edge that wins audiences attention and respect. Perhaps no other folk singer in Canada says in song what Joey’s songs often dare to say so boldly and upfront, while his story telling style is complete enough that he doesn't nessecarily drive off those with different ideological perspectives.

“...There is a growing panel of alarmed scientists who say that we are heading towards a situation where 50% of the planets genetic biodiversity could be wiped out within 100 years, a climactic mass extinction paralell to the fall of the dinosaurs. Two winters ago 75 homeless people froze to death in Toronto. What am I going to sing about, another songs about ‘shakin it’ or ‘makin love tonight?’ But even so, I am not a one track minded person so hear me out. I also love sitting with children and enjoying their simple nature. I love hiking the mountains and finding my way to the top. I think about a lot of stuff really. I am really interested in Wing Chun and I am really interested in the good ol’hockey game!! I think there is still a lot of good things on this planet, and a lot of good people. I like to write songs and tell you about that too because when people know what is worth fighting for they will never relent from the nessecary struggle...”


1998 - COUNTRY ROAD - the persecuted
2005 - CITIZENS RULE/ANTI-CAMPBELL COMP. - joey only on track 6

Set List

Joey Only has at times been known to pull off three and even four sets in a night mixed with covers from a century ago, original political numbers and remix's of old songs turned hillbilly. He has a repertoire of over 150 songs. You can always expect a Johnny Cash or Woody Guthrie song to come out, while a good portion of Joey's set list always includes his own original numbers. Here are a few examples of what you might hear:
-Orange Blosson Special - Johnny Cash
-Cocaine Blues - Woody Guthrie
-Follow the Drinking Gourd - 19thC slave song
-The Hockey Song - Stompin Tom Conner
-Draft Dodger Rag - Phil Oakes
-Masters Of War - Bob Dylan
Dear Abbey - John Prine
-Voice of God is Government - Bad Religion
-Lake of Fire - Nirvana/Meat Puppets
-Bad Moon Rising - CCR
-Marching Song of Covert Battalians - Billy Bragg
-Working Class Hero - John Lennin
-One Step Ahead of the Blues - JJ Cale
-Six Days on the Road - Dudley Dave
-Henry Ford Was A Fascist - David Rovics
-Big Roc