The Last Divide…between boyhood fantasies and rock-solid creative visions;…between dreams unfulfilled and potential brilliantly realized;…between suppressing natural talent and exploding it upon the world.The past is history, the future a mystery. The only thing that matters is this moment, here and now. And with the release of his wondrous debut CD Both Sides, Detroiter Joe Jaber (pronounced “Jabber,” as in what you’ll be doing after you hear the album) is drawing a line in the sands of time with his group, The Last Divide, while creating a style and musical genre uniquely his own.“I’ve had some struggles through my life, like everyone else, and in a sense I want to become whole,” Joe says, explaining the origin of his band’s name. “This is the last divide. Whatever happened in the past is gone. I’m not putting up with the old lifestyle. I’m moving forward to a new chapter, and I’m going to make it a better one.”More than a year in the making, Both Sides, a savory gumbo of rock, blues and Americana music with a dash of folk on top, represents the culmination of a life spent in passionate pursuit of a musical dream. In high school, Joe and his best friend, Marcus Heath, simultaneously picked up their first guitars and were turned on to classic rock. “We were like, ‘Wow! What’s this?’” Joe recalls. “We were blown away. The funny thing is, we didn’t know what the heck we were doing but for some reason we were the perfect people to play together. We didn’t know we could play anything that sounded good, then when we did we would almost giggle with joy like little schoolgirls.”After almost two decades of basement jamming and casual composing, Joe decided to get serious. In 2009 he purchased an expensive Taylor acoustic guitar. “All of a sudden I wrote 40 songs, out of nowhere,” he marvels. Inspired, he and Heath placed ads for a drummer and bass guitarist to round out their performing unit. On the recommendation of his vocal coach, Joe arranged to meet Detroit producer Mike Welchans, who produced Both Sides at studios in Royal Oak and downtown Detroit.So impressed was Welchans with Joe’s songs and musical direction that not only did he produce the disc and find Joe a top-notch drummer, Dan Lago, “but I also joined the band to add backing vocals, percussion and keyboards,” Welchans says. Ultimately, the Last Divide was assembled: Heath on lead guitar, Randy Swickler on bass, Lago, Welchans, and Joe as songwriter, lead singer and emotional catalyst.Welchans isn’t the only one to be impressed. Even though Joe is a novice in Detroit’s music community, an outstanding collection of top local performers, including country artist Ty Stone, Don “Doop” Duprie of Doop & the Inside Outlaws, Alison Lewis and Nadir Omowale, volunteered to lend their talents to Both Sides.“I’m ecstatic to even be a part of the community of music,” Joe enthuses. “It’s a whole new world to me.”It’s a wonderful world, too. Listen to the carefree, raspy eloquence of the album’s first track, “Livin’ Today,” the bluesy balladry of “Regret” (a duet with Lewis) or the driving classic-rock feel of “Whiskey and Wine” and you may be reminded of the early works of fellow Detroit son Bob Seger. The raw urgency. The natural power. The vocal honesty and composing flair. This Last Divide was built to conquer, and Joe Jaber was destined to fulfill his musical promise.“When I write a song that I like, man, I can’t settle down,” says Joe, a professional salesman by day who cites musical influences from Van Morrison to Ray LaMontagne. “It comes to you like a shot of magic that lands on your lap and I’m thinking, ‘Where did that come from?’“To think that somebody could be listening to a song that I wrote, that blows me away,” says Joe, who wrote every track on Both Sides. “I’m just excited by the journey, and music is the biggest part of it for me, really. I want to keep crafting the songs, get better at vocals, better at guitar, everything. I’m living a dream.”Jim McFarlin, former Rock Critic for The Detroit http://joejaberandthelastdivide.com
A member of Downriver Detroit's Inside Outlaws, Matt Dmits has been writing and performing music inthe Detroit area and the Midwest for the past ten years. Working as a vocalist, songwriter, and guitar player, he has shared the stage with numerous local and national artists- both as a stand-alone performer of roots-rock-americana, and as an accompanist.
Weaving modern movements with the traditions that made music the backdrop of our lives.