Matthew Check ’00 and Joanie Leeds make up the folk duo Joanie & Matt, and they have some harmonically major plans for July.
First, the duo will return to Matt’s hometown on Friday, July 5, 2019 to perform at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia at 8:00 p.m.
Joanie & Matt will then release their debut album, Sterling, on Friday, July 19, 2019. Inspired by the #MeToo movement, the album adapts stories from the Hebrew Bible with a feminist reinterpretation. The band will celebrate their album release with a concert at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall on Thursday, July 18 at 7:00 p.m.
Matt and Joanie originally met in 2008 while working in a Manhattan synagogue. They collaborated on music between 2008 and 2010, co-writing a Jewish children’s bluegrass album during their lunch breaks.
They pursued separate music projects in the intervening decade, both touring nationally. Matt was the original banjo player in Gangstagrass, a bluegrass and hip-hop band. Gangstagrass garnered an Emmy nomination for their song Long Hard Times to Come, which was the theme song of the FX series Justified.
Now Matt and Joanie have reunited, and their blend of folk, Americana, Jewish sacred texts, and feminism is gaining popularity. The duo was recently featured in Billboard Magazine.
Keep an eye (and an ear) out for Sterling on July 19, and watch the music video for the album’s title track.