Growing up a fourth-generation Texan in Waco, Joe Silva was influenced by his musical family. His mother sang around the house and played records while his father enjoyed TV music programs and encouraged Silva to pursue music. His extended family was also musically orientedhis great uncle played the harp while other members of his family played guitar, bass and drums. Silva began playing the guitar at age nine and started his professional career at 14 in his cousin Augustine Lopez's band Magnificent 5, a funk and blues outfit.
After graduating from MCC Commercial Music Program in Waco, Silva formed The Joe Silva Blues Band. In 1991 the band moved to the Dallas/Ft.Worth area, where they actively played clubs. By 1997 Silva moved to Nashville and a year later reformed New Blue with Timothy Smith on drums and Steve Vines on bass. Twice a year Silva returns to Texas for performances. Silva and New Blue play jazz and blues festivals and Bourbon Street Boogie Bar, plus regular gigs at Marquiz Bar and a solo gig at Beyond the Edge. Silva talks about soul music, being infallible for a day, and his long list of favorite Nashville artists.
Describe your music, please. Modern blues with jazz, rock, and soul influences.
What's the first album you ever bought and where is it now? The Best of Wes Montgomery I keep it with my few, but very sacred collection of LPs beneath my turntable.
What kind of music did you listen to when you were growing up? Since my oldest brother, Ambrosio Jr., took charge of what we listened to at home, I listened to a whole bunch of soul music. Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and tons of singing groups. My brother, cousins, and their friends were always around dancing in the house and sometimes trying to start a band.
What song would you never want to hear again, and why? "Love Is Blue." On one of my late-night solo trips back to Texas, several radio stations in Arkansas were "non-stop playing" "Love Is Blue." I got suckered into following along for about four hours. It was good at the time, but left a bad sound!
What's the best gig you ever had? So many to pick from makes this a hard question to answer. Caravan of Dreams in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1988. Playing my first real Performing Art Center with my band and getting star treatment.
What's the worst gig you ever had? I was just out of high school traveling for a New Year's Eve date with the Noble Kings to Altus, Oklahoma from Waco, Texas. Bad leadership: a late, late departure, 250 miles of driving incredibly dangerous speeds, and arriving late enough to play a few tunes before being raided by the local police for playing after hours. People never gave up on us and were still ready to celebrate the New Yearthat was the upside of the story! Ha-ha!
What record do you wish you'd made? Aja by Steely Dan or Q's Jook Joint by Quincy Jones.
If you could be someone else for 24 hours, who would you be? I have always just been me...hmmm. I think being anyone else would be an "eye opener." Jesus Christ would be the ultimate life to live for a day. To get through 24 hours and make all the right moves and right answers would be incredible!
What's your opinion on the Nashville music scene? Do you really have the time to listen! Ha-ha! Nashville is a music city and big-time careers are made in this town. I find myself saying, "Nashville is for musicians like L.A. is for actors." The best of the best are here and I believe there is plenty of room for everyone. I have lived as a working musician in five major cities and it is always a tough nut to crack. The music and entertainment fields are very competitive, as anyone in the field can testify to, but I believe God always blesses those who work hard. Hard work with talent, perseverance, a dream, and God always factored into the equation cracks the nut.
Who are your favorite Nashville musicians/artists? Steve Roper, Phil Keaggy and Larry Carlton on guitar, between Steve Vines, Chris Kent, Vic Danger, and on bass, Timothy Smith, Chuckie Burke, Marcus Finnie, and the late Benny Rappa on drums, Carlton Taylor, Warren Beck, Dave Frank and Moe Denham on keys, Jimmy Bowland, Waldo Weathers, and Kirk Whalum on sax, Tim Gonzales, Mike Hall, Shawn Williford, and William House on Harmonica and Holly Steele, Scat Springs, Jaci Valasquez, Geno Speight and Jimmy Hall for vocals, and the list could go on and on. I have so many local favorites.
Who is someone you've worked with that you think is incredibly talented and everyone should know about, producer, musician or otherwise? Steve Dady, recording engineer/producer at Sunset Boulevard Studios in Brentwood; he believes in getting it right and keeping up with the times of recording technology. He's talented, a hard worker, has great work ethics and a class-A studio.
What is your proudest moment in music? Today, I find my proudest moment playing every Sunday at the 2 p.m. all-Spanish Sunday mass at St. Edward's.
When and where will you be next? Every Monday at 8 p.m., I play solo acoustic at Beyond The Edge in East Nashville. Every Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m., I play with my band New Blue at Marquiz Bar & Grill on Wallace Road in South Nashville. I'll also be at B.B. King's Aug. 28 with New Blue for the first of many early-afternoon matinees.