Steel Trappings

Spotlight ON! Feature

Spotlight ON! Joe Stewart

December 14, 2021 • Addison ChingEntertainment

This month we shine the Spotlight ON! Joe Stewart.

Joe was born in Springfield, Ohio. He moved to Wyoming at age 4 and subsequently moved to Denver, Colorado at age 11. This is where he says he grew up. Joe currently lives in Broomfield, Colorado, which is just north of Denver.

"We always had music around the house," says Joe. "My three sisters and my mother played piano. My younger brother played the drums and later took up the guitar."

Early on, Joe had an old Hawaiian-style guitar, possibly an Oahu or something similar, with a nut extender. Joe remembers playing around with that instrument some, but after the bridge broke off, the guitar was discarded. Joe still has the original steel that he bought just for that guitar.

Joe reflects on one of his first experiences with the Hawaiian steel guitar. "In 2008, I saw an ad for the Aloha Music Camp and ended up going that year. I think Geri Valdriz was the steel player at that camp, and that was the first time I heard the wonderful sound of the steel in a Hawaiian context.

"The next camp I attended was in 2010 and I showed up equipped with a steel I got at a pawn shop. We played in a G tuning and I had my first introduction to the instrument."

In 2014, Joe returned to Aloha Music Camp and met Alan Akaka who was the steel kumu. That was the start of his new journey into learning the steel guitar. A few years later, Joe started taking private lessons with Alan and has continued, off and on, since then.

One of his favorite Hawaiian steel guitar players is Alan Akaka, but he also includes Bobby Ingano, Jeff Au Hoy, and Sol Hoopi‘i in his list of favorites. "There are so many good players out there that I hate to limit my favorites to a few, remarks Joe.

Joe is a member of the Hala Kahiki Band with two of his friends. They have played at Hawaiian Festivals, retirement homes, private parties and farmer's markets. The band has been playing together for about 12 years. For some of those years, Joe's wife Laurie played one of KonaBob's [Stoffer] basses (Walkingbass] with the group.

Joe says, "With the group, I play guitar and steel and sing." He also perform with other musicians, playing old-time, Celtic, French Canadian and contra dance music at coffee shops, wineries and dances. "For that music I play guitar and/or fiddle."

Now retired, Joe has plenty of time to spend playing and practicing, mostly on steel guitar. He enjoys being able to play at local festivals, the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase, the Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival and Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association events. There are even a few folks in the Broomfield/Boulder/Louisville, Colorado area who kanikapila once in a while, and Joe brings his steel to those events. "For me, this is what music, particularly Hawaiian music, is all about – playing with other people and having a good time."

Joe offers a final comment: "Before retirement, I spent 40 plus years working as a petroleum engineer. I must admit, I haven't looked back. Playing steel is much more fun."

This video is of a performance by Joe doing "Blue Hawaiian Moonlight".

The video can also be seen on YouTube.

This feature is a snapshot of the complete tribute that is posted on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase website. See the complete tribute here.

Feature

Archives

January, 2022
December, 2021
November, 2021
October, 2021
September, 2021
August, 2021

Complete Issue Archive
Complete Series Archive


Categories

Education and Training
Entertainment
Equipment
Festivals and Conventions
Instruments and Luthiers
News
Steel Guitar History


Authors

Author Index

Tags


Events

2022
Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Steel Guitar Saturday
January 22, 2022 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Livestream Kanikapila - LIVE from Moloka‘i
February 26, 2022 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase

Open Stage Showcase
March 12, 2022 – LIVE STREAMED on Facebook and YouTube 3PM - 5PM HST

Facebook LiveYouTube
Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival
incorporating the
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase
March 31-April 2, 2022 – Sheraton Kaua‘i Coconut Beach Resort, Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i
Saturday Performances 11:30 AM - 6PM HST
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week   
July 11-15, 2022 – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī
Nightly Evening Performances 5:30PM - 6:30PM HST
Facebook LiveYouTube
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival
incorporating the
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase
July 16, 2022 – Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī
Saturday Performances 11AM - 2PM and 4:30PM - 6:30PM HST

Copyright ©2021 by Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences, Inc., and Cyberventures Unlimited.Terms of Use

About HIMELE
HIMELE is a Hawai‘i non-profit corporation that supports music enrichment and education for people of all ages. Our purpose is to educate, promote, and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments.