Joel Paterson

Redwood Coast Music Festival 2020 Special Guest Artist

Once in a blue moon, a musician comes along who’s able to cross mediums effortlessly as he delivers a thoroughly modern touch to songs that existed decades before he was born or creates new tunes that fit seamlessly into what’s come before.


That’s the case for Joel Paterson, guitar master, vocalist, songwriter and one of the very bright lights in the world of American roots music.  One of the most fluid, stylish pickers on the planet, Joel’s versatility is beyond compare.


Paterson is a titan on Chicago’s music scene and one of the busiest musicians on the roots music scene today.  He can be seen all over Chicago playing with icons, cult heroes, jazz greats, blues legends, honky tonk revues, and back-bar bands The Western Elstons, The Modern Sounds, The Joel Paterson Organ Trio featuring Chris Foreman, and many other Chicago-based projects. You can often spot him climbing scales within the smoky confines of historic Chicago jazz club The Green Mill, or bringing out his honky tonk chops at Simon's or The Empty Bottle.


Depending on the evening, you might find him playing straight-ahead 20s acoustic blues, but you might also run across him in the top jazz joints in the Windy City, too. Look elsewhere, and there he’ll be, playing honky-tonk, jump, rockabilly, country or Western swing, too. Look again and he’ll even be playing pedal steel.


His history as an in demand sessions musician includes work with Pokey LaFarge, country artists The Cactus Blossoms, rockabilly and roots star JD McPherson, mod-pop mavericks The Insomniacs, roots artist Rachel Ries, Canadian acoustic blues guitarist Steve Dawson, Milwaukee blues harp legend Jim Liban and hot jazz keyboard player Carl Sonny Leyland, among others.


One of his ensembles is coming to Redwood Coast Music Festival this year. The Modern Sounds, emulates the classic blues, swing and rockabilly feel of Los Angeles-based Modern Records – hence the name. Founded by Saul, Jules and Joe Bihari in 1945 and in operation into the 60s, its lineup included Etta James, Joe Houston and Ike and Tina Turner. Paterson teams with Beau Sample on upright bass and Alex Hall on drums in a trio format to deliver a big sound that includes three-piece harmonies. Both men are also involved with Joel’s label.


“That’s a lot of fun for me because we can go into any situation and figure out what to do for each occasion depending on the club or the audience,” Paterson says. “We can play the blues, swing or jazz. When we back up Oscar Wilson, we can do a lot of old rhythm-n’-blues. We’re like the session guys who can kinda fit in with anybody.”


With all that on his plate in Chicago, Paterson doesn’t venture out of the Windy City very often and we’re thrilled to have him showcase his incredible talents here at Redwood Coast Music Festival in 2020


Performance Time:

VENUE                               DAY                      START

Adorni Center                     Friday                  7:30pm

Western Swing Allstars with Elana James

Sequoia Center                  Friday                 10:30pm

Jonathan Doyle Swingtet

Morris Graves                    Saturday               1:30pm

Charlie Halloran & His Calypsonians

Saturday                TBA                    

Sunday                    TBA

Friday                    TBA