Joan Spalding Nashville Recording Artist
Joan Spalding is a multi talented musician from the Lambton County, Ontario Canada area who has played across Canada and is a Nashville recording artist. She has many achievements to her credit, you can read about them here. Joan is a gentle-natured and soft spoken woman, who will wow you with the strength of her throaty yet sweet sounding voice that resonates with feeling and passion. She loves what she does and you can tell just from listening to her. She is the difference between hearing music and the music experience. Brightening our great lakes shores with beauty and musical talent. May I introduce to you the First Lady of Bluewater, Joan Spalding.
The first thing I asked Joan was when did she start playing music?
Thank you for having me for the interview. I think it is very important question. I started early in life about 7 or 8 (with an interest in music) and started playing guitar around 11 years old. I was at my Nana's and I heard them playing music and songs and I wanted to learn to play guitar to play along with them. I remember watching them play from the time I was about 3 or 4 years old and I would so quietly watch them through the cracks in the staircase that went upstairs.
Were you self-taught or did you take lessons?
I was self taught. My aunt showed me how to play the chords on the piano and I was very happy learning that. I wanted to learn more because it still wasn’t the guitar. Over at my aunt and uncles I learned how to play from watching Don Pablo. He was a guest and he showed me all the cord formations. There is three cords in each guitar cord which would be G,C,D, and that was the first lesson. So when I got home I got my guitar and played the piano chords to what he had said. I played what I saw him play because I have a photographic memory and that’s how I learned how to play the guitar. Any instrument after that I learned from watching other people play and I have a good ear for music.
Awesome! That is wonderful that you had a musical family and that you have photographic memory, so incredible.
What are the biggest influences to your music?
I won a singing contest in the early years of my career. It was open to everybody and anybody. There were people from Vancouver, Quebec, and British Columbia, as long as they were Canadian. I won the contest three years in a row and on the plaque at the Canadian Country Hall of Fame in Alberta.
That is great, winning the contest and being on the board for the Hall of Fame! You have an amazingly distinctive sound. I love the strength of your voice and enthusiasm.
So that got me started. I was already playing music at that time, had my own band. I started actually at little places where two people would be playing and asked if I could get up and play with them or sing a song. I was asked, "do you play guitar," and I said "yes, I just learned how to," so I played and sang and everybody was dancing. It was awesome!
That IS awesome.
My dad played the harmonica and was with my band for 10 years. My mom and dad were influences and my biggest fans.
What would you say is the highlight of your career so far?
I was doing a lot of Jamborees at the beginning of my career and one day a friend of mine brought Howard Walker over to hear me sing. Howard Walker is from the United States and he has a recording publishing place called, Walking Tree Records. He said, "I think you should record," and took me down to Nashville. I recorded some 45s of music that I wrote, that he or I liked. Then I met Tommy Durden and he was the writer of Heart Break Hotel. Along with Mae Axton, that’s Hoyt Axton Mother.
I saw a cheque he got after Willie Nelson sang it and made it number one again after Elvis. He got Over $600, quarterly. That influenced me a lot. I was getting $240 a year for my songs. At least I got something, that was better then nothing. I have released a few songs that I have written and are doing well.
Wow! Tommy Durden wrote Heartbreak Hotel for Elvis Presley. Hoyt Axton is American country musician, song writer and actor. He narrated the profile series, Life and Times on the Nashville Network. His mother, Mae Boren Axton was known as the "Queen Mother of Nashville." and co wrote Heartbreak Hotel. That is a great career highlight. I can only imagine how exciting that would be!
A story about Ralph Emery. He had a show at the Nashville Grand Opry and that’s where I met him. At that time I was invited to Ralph Emery's show as a VIP. I was not on his show I was a guest. I sat with the other star’s guests, Mae Acton and Howard and I met country famous John Michael Montgomery and Dennis Weaver. He was a guest singer. He was also on the TV cowboy show, (Dennis Weaver was in Gunsmoke and McLoud television shows.)
Those are fantastic experiences and career highlights! A great crowd to be with.
I Just Want To Get Close To You is one of this writer's favourites. Listen to it here and on ReverbNation:
What do you like best about playing Live?
Meeting a lot of special people through my career. One lady I met up in Ottawa and we’ve been friends for over 40 years and still are. I met a lot of people that were my friends that have passed on too. Most of all through my career the people I meet are so special they end up being friends, fans, or followers. That’s what makes this business so unique. It’s who you meet, how you meet them and how they stay friends that makes it very special.
Yes, beautiful people make the beautiful world go round.
I will tell you of a place called Purple Hill Country Hall in Thorndale. I had done some recording, had a record out that was doing well and I got on the show. It was a little Minnie Grand Opry. When I was in Nashville I got to sing in a few places and was a big hit and my cds were selling.
Niiiiice!! That is great.
One thing about the music business is that I’m nervous every time I start singing. Tommy Durden said, "that’s a good thing, you enjoy what you do. Your heart and soul is in it when you sing, you give it your all."
Yes you do for sure. You don't show that nervousness. Very smooth and sing with great gusto really.
My Dad played harmonica. My mother carried us kids while she was pregnant and said she wanted to have a musical family. Well, all of her children play music. My sister plays piano my brother played a 4 string banjo and my son plays drums. My daughters play piano and saxophone. We're a family with music handed down from our grandparents who played fiddle.
I have heard you play harmonica too - really great!!
I play a number of instruments 13-17 of them. The main ones are guitar, harmonica and banjo. Ukelele, once in awhile. Plus, fiddle drums and dobro and other instruments.
Wow, very cool!
Do you have a personal philosophy about music?
I feel that I was meant to be on stage. I always left my troubles behind when on stage and sang my heart out. It made me feel good, complete. When other people are happy and dancing to my music that is very rewarding.
Yes, music brings a sense of wholeness as does sharing happiness with others. I think that is how we are meant to be as people. I think that makes what we do fulfilling.
Do you think music is an inner gift?
I feel my music is a gift from God.
Great point. Yes as a gift, I think so too.
Is there any advice that you would like to give an aspiring singer?
I could write a book about other things I have experienced in this music world. A couple of people like Tommy Durden said, "you’ve paid your dues. Don’t ever give up your dreams." So I’m still going, just like The Energizer Bunny Rabbit. I keep going & going & going."
That is the best way to be and good advice from Tommy Durden!
Are you still doing your daily online concerts that started with the pandemic?
Throughout COVID I wondered, what am I going to do? I had to do something, so I asked God in a prayer. "What do I do, show me a sign," and it came to me I was to go on my computer and do a show live that way. I didn’t know too much about computers but I got on it and did a live show and sang Mamma Spank and I was very emotional. That is how I started the Facebook Show and I’m still singing everyday after 616 days in a row.
I love that! That you got an answer through prayer. I have watched your show on Facebook and enjoy it so much. You have a vast audience. People really love your music!
My highlight through COVID pandemic period was that I received the Paul Harris Fellow Award through the Rotary club for 2020. For my one year singing everyday. I was also on CBC The National News and highlighted on SVG Saragual India singing a few songs.
What are your plans from here with your music?
I will keep singing until the good Lord is finished with me. I have a purpose in life. That is to sing and make people feel good. I feel music is good for the soul. God Bless.
I will be recording soon. I want to thank all my followers and Facebook friends and fans for everything, and of course God.
Thank you Lisa. Bless you!
God bless you too Joan. I really value this time today that you have spent with me. This is a great interview and I am happy to be part of it and knowing more about you. You have a sensational, interesting, and vibrant career and I look forward to hearing you sing through the years. Thank you so much incredible lady♥️