CitySong

Joe Piano is the moniker of former Beady member Jesse Weber-Owens. He released a new single called “Deersinger” last month. Jesse battles schizophrenia among other issues but is a prolific songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He explains what music means to him, what the song is about, and who he worked with on this latest project:

i grew up in louisville, playing in lots of different bands from an early age, including playing cello and banjo in beady who you recognize.
ive been involved in lots of different projects of varying genres, and have written thousands of songs in my lifetime, most forgotten and lost somewhere else, about 300 of those have been recorded myself, in my own studio that i produce in regularly that i have built from the ground up, space basement studios.

i have had paranoid schizophrenia since i was young, undiagnosed until my late teens, combined with substance abuse disorder which has exacerbated the illness. i’m totally sober now! a lot of my inspiration comes from my own experience in my life, there’s not a song i’ve written that doesn’t refer to some part of my life in a very real way. i hallucinate constantly, with grand paranoia and have quite a web of delusions, even on medication, but i have found a place of stability with music. i constantly and obsessively listen to vinyl, every day for hours, and write new songs, produce, or both every day, without skipping a beat. when im making music, or listening, i’m not happy, not sad, not angry, nothing, i’m MUSIC. which is why i say that music keeps me stable and away from drugs, and tempting delusion storylines. because it has a stronger effect than any other thing i could do for myself. anyway, that’s just a major part about my creativity, is my illness. i don’t quite have a choice to not write so much music all the time, its my responsibility as a mentally ill person to do what it takes to survive, and that’s music for me. i wouldn’t take it back for anything, because its a part of my process as a musician. anyway! i play about 20 instruments including banjo, cello, fiddle, keys, guitar, mandolin, lap steel, lots of bizarre stringed instruments from all over the world.

the song was written about a memory with an old love, turned my now closest friend, when i woke up to a sunrise next to her i felt her pulse, and our hearts were literally beating in unison, like the chorus says. the flask is a gift from her from years ago, as well as the camera. the flower on my wrist is the symbol for a band called la dispute that we grew up listening to together. here’s where it gets interesting, Greta Simone (the person i’m singing to) and i have remained a close, best friendship this whole time, and i sent her the recording when i wrote it, and she loved it, and literally flew from her current home in colorodo, to sing harmonies on the song. it was quite a special thing. this song was quite a labor of love, truly.
my producers name is Evan VIcic, violist for the louisville orchestra and he is recording this upcoming record, pro bono just because how much he believes in the music. my good friend Jon Mueller has played in this band the longest, and is also a violist in the orchestra. my album will feature about 12 musicians doing different parts of their unique talents. “deersinger” is already released, but there are vinyl 7 inch singles being created as we speak, and i will be doing a vinyl release show in the near future.

Laura is the WFPK Assistant Program Director and afternoon host.