JOSH OKEEFE: The 4,115 miles that troubadour Josh Okeefe travelled from his birthplace of Derby, England, to his current home of Nashville, Tennessee, tell just one small part of a nomadic life in music which actually spans generations and encompasses myriad genres, traditions and disciplines. Although a relatively new artist, the young guitar-and-harmonica-playing singer-songwriter delivers unforgettably potent lyrics with the gravitas of a seasoned veteran. Attesting to his versatility and wide appeal, Okeefe has also had his songs recorded by Nashville-based major-label artists Ashley Monroe and High Valley, among others.
Having performed sold-out shows from California to New York and from Nashville to London and Glasgow, Okeefe has shared stages with legends including Kris Kristofferson, playing for a crowd of 10,000 at London’s Kenwood House for the iconic songwriter’s birthday celebration. He’s also performed with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Alison Krauss and Rufus Wainwright, among many others. In addition, he has joined Bernie Sanders for a ‘Virtual Town Hall Meeting’, he’s appeared at protest events, helping to draw attention to the Black Lives Matter movement and at the site of the tragic 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in West London, where he performed an original song recounting the harrowing event.
Okeefe dropped out of school at age 16. Living briefly in numerous places including London and the seaside resort town of Brighton, Okeefe often slept on the floors of recording studios, music coffee houses and other small venues. After travelling to America in search of the places his music idols once roamed, he began writing songs at an astonishing pace. Okeefe has earned coveted spots at major music events on both sides of the Atlantic including the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, Black Deer Festival and England’s prestigious Glastonbury Festival for the first time in the summer of 2019, at the invitation of British folk musician and political activist Billy Bragg. He’s also made several BBC Radio appearances and is a featured artist on the popular YouTube channel GEMSonVHS.
A rebel artist, a protest singer, the heir to Bob Dylan, or – when he’s doing one of his lighter satirical numbers – a harmonica-tootin’ Mr. Bean… with raw, topical storytelling and a voice that crackles with authentic folk tradition, Okeefe is all of those and more.
“Like a garden in spring, Josh Okeefe’s Bloomin’ bodes well for things to come.” – American Songwriter
“..his songs don’t hesitate as they pick their way through the moral maze of the world” – The Irish Times
“He’s sensational, actually!” – Whispering Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2
“He’s really capturing people’s attention with his own performances” – Mark Radcliffe Folk Show – BBC RADIO
“He seems to turn a light bulb on in your head, makes you ask yourself questions and seems to say what is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Is he the next commentator for this generation? Only time will tell.” – Huffington Post