The saying is – the best writing comes from writing what you know, and based on Joel Rafael’s life experiences and 50 or so years of making music, he has a deep well from which to draw. He’s been an avocado farmer, political activist and a draft dodger. He got busted in Portland, Oregon in the 60s. He’s among the best Woody Guthrie students, proponents and interpreters we have. And he’s a loving husband and a father. With his new album, ‘Baladista,’ his ninth, Joel presents us with ten new ballads that look back on and are influenced by those rich life experiences. The album was recorded in his studio at his ranch in North San Diego County, California, accompanied by Greg Leisz, James “Hutch” Hutchinson, John Inmon and Terry “Buffalo” Ware.
The song “Thanks for the Smiles” is a sweet reflection on the love of his life over many years and many miles. Joel says, “When you’ve spent half a century of your life with another person, there’s a lot to look back on, and when you’re on the road, those memories of times spent with loved ones make the best company.”