"Who is a guy named Joe Leavy? A Father, a husband, a son, a businessman, a musician. A man who believes in God; who believes in life. A man who believes in love."
With that opening, soul singer Joe Leavy introduces himself on his debut release, A Guy Named Joe Leavy, and it serves as a thesis statement for all that comes after. Not many R&B singers in 2013 would lead with those descriptions of themselves, but Leavy appears to want to make it clear from the beginning that he is a “throwback,” in the best sense of the term.
At first blush, A Guy Named Joe Leavy is not unusual, in that it is an album of love songs bearing a mild 80s groove and aimed at urban audiences. But what distinguishes it from most everything on the current secular market is that here love is not equated with “hooking up.” It is about a deeper, sacrificial love that he posits as more fulfilling but that requires much, much more work. Like Kindred the Family Soul, Leavy speaks of the kind of love that ebbs and flows over years, sometimes frustrating, sometimes joyous, but always still there.
Radio is filled with songs about the thrill of the initial meeting or the sadness of the breakup, but “We Go Up” (featuring Julie Morris) puts its focus on sticking it out through rocky times: “You’re not perfect in this relationship/ But baby you are perfect for me. We go up/ we come back down/ keeps our feet on solid ground.” This theme of sticking it out in relationships - even during bad times - is taken to its furthest end in “Skin In the Game,” a ballad that is perhaps the most beautiful cut on the album. On it, Leavy sings of deception and attempted redemption: a man who has violated the trust of his lover discovers what he has lost and pleads for the opportunity to make the commitment needed to restore the relationship and bring it to a deeper level: “I’m laying it out/ I’m going all in. I know the truth is where it begins. It’s all my fault/ I’ll take all the blame. Where there is love, there’s skin in the game.”
One of the criticisms of popular music is its obsession with sex without consequences. Leavy doesn't pile on in those obvious criticisms, but instead flips the focus around, reveling in his role as a father and husband as he dedicates “My Little Ones” to the fulfillment of parenthood: “Every sacrifice and move I make, I’ll do it for you/ I’ll be your best friend and biggest fan/ teach you always love your mother/ stand up like a man.”
Terrestrial radio likely won’t touch A Guy Named Joe Leavy with a 10-foot pole (even though the first single, "I Heart You," sounds like a hit in the vein of The Sounds of Blackness' "Optimistic"). There is nothing hip or edgy about the dirty work of making deep, long-lasting relationships. But, based on the plethora of comments posted on social media, there is an audience out there screaming for music about love that is deeper than the physical. Leavy hits these areas in a way that is neither preachy nor forced. A Guy Named Joe Leavy appears to simply be a legitimate reflection of the artist: a talented singer and songwriter admittedly flawed but with a sense of his place in the world. And it is an album in which many will find something special and real. Recommended.
By Chris Rizik
Joe Leavy is a singer with a smooth and velvety voice. What is it about this particular CD that makes it so special; you can understand all of the words to the songs. Joe’s singing and phrasing are amazing, supple, warm, relaxed, and vibrant. “Your Eyes” and “I Heart You” are love songs with beautiful lyrics and gorgeous orchestral arrangements. There is really nothing more I could say about Joe. His voice and the music; it's all been said. But I will say this, the Love songs on this CD are romantic and should be listened to with your special person. “A Guy Named Joe Leavy” is a wonderful album. Thanks Joe, I’m digging this CD.
Peace and Khoolness,
Owner and Program Director
Jo Khool Smooth Jazz and Soul Radio
Joe Leavy has come through with a very positive album touching on love, relationship and family values.
The music arrangement is second to none, each track has its own identity with lots of instruments being used to create a timeless masterpiece.
The tracks are well written bringing you into Joe Leavy's world but at the same time makes you reflect back on your personal life experiences, which takes you on a wonderful journey.
With a wide variation of soulful, jazzy sounds and the combination of great lyrics leaves you gasping for more.. This is must have album for any person who loves quality music.
What more can I say?? Don't take my word for it check out the album..
A Guy Named Joe Leavy
TSOL Radio (The Sound Of London)
Jay King · Follow · Chief Executive Officer at The Jay King Network ·
Joe Leavy is one of those artists who will defy the odds and I believe he will ignite other 50 year old plus artist who waited half their lives before they decide to take the plunge in this vicious music cycle to live, dream, plunge and enjoy the ride. I believe Joe Leavy will be found, loved & projected into the stardom his Music & album (yeah I said album) screams he deserves..... Big up´s to Derek DOA Allen & Joe Archie outstanding production guys :)
True to his words Joe Leavy invites you along to Joe's world and what a world it is! If you didnt know who Joe Leavy was before, you certainly will by the end of this fabulous record! He is not ashamed to step back into time with his skillful vocal ability fooling you into thinking that he's been an established artist who has been around on the "scene" for decades, when in fact this is a Debut album! it's very rare these days that you can put on a record and listen to it from the first to the last track - easily! Great production, Derek D.O.A Allen and collaboration, with the legend that is Larry Dunn and others is clearly apparent throughout this gem of an album.
It was my pleasure to recently interview Joe Leavy for the (The Soul of London radio.com) listeners and this bought a whole new batch of fans for this real, refreshing, to the point, thought provoking guy - A Guy Named Joe Leavy! Keep on looking Up Joe!
DJ Lady Love - Station Manager Catch me Sunday's for the LL3 6-9pm GMT, Tuesday's for Drivetime 5-7pm GMT
It was a pleasure reviewing your new album. I was taken to a special place by the sound of your voice and the various messages in bound in the lyrics of your songs. I will be adding you to my playlist as soon as possible as I want the soul lovers here in Japan to experience A Guy named Joe Leavy.
Very nice work and thank you for lifting me up.
Fridays 18:00 ~ 20:00.
"Great debut set from joe leavy. great vocals.melodies.harmonies.wrapped up in superb song writing.
"At first sight",I heart you",being firm favourites in this household.overall a great debut set without the need to skip tracks.
"A guy named joe leavy" an essential purchase for 2013
I was a fan of Joe before he recorded the album. He sent me a song, and we chatted back & forth about it. He was doubting himself & I wanted to throw a brick thru my computer at him. I told him to send some music to Jay King & here we are. I love his whole album & anyone that knows me will tell you that I'm a complete jackass when it comes to new music. But Joe's album I can listen to from start to finish. Now my favorite song is "We Go Up", it just has my kind of groove to it. You can't go wrong with any song on the album. "My Little Ones", "Hurt People" & of course "I Heart U" is a complete jam. Do my man right & I want tickets to the Grammy's dammit! LOL!!
We hear in San Diego are so proud of Joe, we go way back to the 80's when he first started in his musical journey he stayed the course with integrity and class but never up his dream. Congrats my friend!!
Floyd A. Smith