Interesting how you remember certain things about your childhood…in my case… early on, I knew that I am a drummer. My Mom took a picture of me when I was 3 or 4 sitting behind a small kit of drums that I had chosen to buy with birthday money. The excitement of singing and making rhythm have always come naturally to me.

The love of many different kinds of music was fed early on in junior high in the school jazz band, the Leatherneck Drum and bugle corps and my first garage rock band. I got a gig in a local nightclub playing “top 40” music before my Senior year and then joined a funky jazz group which played on the weekends in small clubs. Right out of high school I left home for Sarasota Florida where I played for a while before hitting the road with a show band touring from Miami to Canada to Puerto Rico…this was a dream come true!

Along the way, I felt the will to express myself through writing songs. So, after playing up and down Florida's west coast for many years, I moved to Nashville TN to learn more about this craft. ( after all that is where some of finest songwriters In the world reside. ) With studios and stellar musicians on every corner, I immersed myself in the local songwriting culture.I was blessed to perform with some of Nashville’s "Songwriting Greats” in the prestigious Tin Pan South annual shows and I got to “Rock Out” as the percussionist for the Fleetwood Mac Tribute band “World Turning”. Good memories for sure!

Around this time, I collaborated with children in the Country Music Hall of Fame’s “Words & Music” program. 
I released a CD “Kooki Aushi & Other Tales with 4 of the songs co-written with 4th - 6th graders. I also began
writing with Emmy Award winning writer/ producer Ed Tossing. Together we wrote the song “WhaleOsaur”.
With the help of my brother Laird doing the illustrations, we created our book of the same name. 

Feeling the pull of the west coast, my wife (Rhonda) granddaughter (Serenity Luna) and I then moved to Joshua Tree California where we enjoyed the quiet of the High Desert. There I played in venues across the Coachella Valley with some very fine musicians In the styles of Jazz, R&B, Blues, Rock and even some bluegrass at Pappy & Harriets in Pioneer Town.

And now, after a few years,I find myself in Santa Fe New Mexico, a sort of return to the beginnings of life with Rhonda. Arriving just prior to the pandemic we are enjoying the mountains and the southwestern vibe. By the way, a song of mine (Breathe) was awarded first place in the “Ambient” category in the New Mexico Music Awards, 2022. I look forward to sharing this and other songs with you.


Joel Atkins