Early on, singer-songwriter Joseph Houck’s distinctive voice was shaped by late-night woodshed jams, mountain music guitar classes, and his family’s eclectic musical tastes. In his teens, Houck spent many hours alone in his room with a guitar, delighting in songwriting experiments. His penchant for creative writing was further fueled by his time as an English major at Appalachian State University. As a student, he began sharing simple recordings of his first songs on Soundcloud, where he soon received support from a diverse community of artists and fans. On April 27th, 2011, the streaming platform recognized Houck as “Soundclouder of the Day,” introducing his music to a wider audience online.
In 2012, he released his first EP “Forgotten,” an acoustic folk album with lyrics ranging from “charming” and “pure” to offbeat and introspective. In 2015, his first full-length record Roam was released. Loose, grand, and freewheeling, Roam’s songs share a theme of travel, or perhaps more broadly, journey. As blogger Rachel Cholst puts it, “What unites the songs on this collection is a measured confidence coupled with some truly unique and finely crafted songwriting…Roam is surely a keeper, a true companion along this road” (Adobe and Teardrops).
In 2018 came Houck’s second full-length record Congeries, a genre-busting, darker brew in moods of mischief, magic, and melancholy. Up until the start of the pandemic, Houck had over one hundred live performances under his belt. Yet as the world’s bustle slowed down, Houck put his live music ambitions on hold to focus exclusively on songwriting and recording. The fruit of this labor is his new record Haunts & Wants.
Released on October 6th, 2023, the new album is produced by Knoxville, TN musician and frequent collaborator Bryan Ciliberto. A blend of pop, soul, folk, and rock n roll, the passion project was recorded over eighteen months. Houck and Ciliberto shared files with each other from their home studios, recording several instruments between them. Houck was compelled to express the songs in full, colorful arrangements, and the album features several gifted musicians, whose contributions include elegant and dramatic strings and brass sections. By turns joyous & lively and moody & forlorn, Haunts & Wants is about longings, regrets, memories, and places we go in the everyday quiet times. It’s about how we cope with our desires and obsessions.
Home: Boone, NC
Praise for Haunts & Wants:
"...the excitement of hearing Houck unfurl his wings matches that first flush of new love...
Once again, we see Houck as an explorer of the human heart, irrepressibly journeying onwards no matter what lies in his path." -- Rachel Cholst (Adobe and Teardrops)
“Joseph Houck proves to be a versatile songwriter who presents a cross-genre long player with ‘Haunts & Wants.’” --Michael Segets (Sounds of South)
“What a glorious new collection of music & lyrics… The songs have all a different character which makes this a very exciting ride indeed. Houck evokes music and styles from the past but he has taken it to a new place. Houck’s place. And it is awesome.” --Mats Bergman
“Joseph Houck…is such an artist to whom the value of respecting one’s own hidden destructive needs is paramount, and he achieves this in magnificent fashion in the Bryan Ciliberto produced album Haunts & Wants.” --Ian Hall (Liverpool Sound and Vision)
Praise for Roam:
"Roam’s classic instrumentation meshes nicely with Houck’s voice, giving listeners a sound that is easily recognizable as Appalachian in spirit."
--Bailey Faulkner (High Country Press)
"The first thing you need to know about this musician is that the guy is seriously good at guitar. The instant I heard his music, specifically “Through the Window”, my foot instantly began to tap to the beat and my head started to bob. His music falls into the category of Folk Rock and is well suited for your road trips on the Blue Ridge Parkway."
--(High Country 365)
"...Roam is a workhorse of an album that fits pretty much any mood you're in. What unites the songs on this collection is a measured confidence coupled with some truly unique and finely crafted songwriting..."
--Rachel Cholst (Adobe and Teardrops)
Praise for "Forgotten" EP:
“Joseph Houck is one of those rare songwriters. His songs capture all the mystery, sadness, longing and simple joys of being alive. A truly special American voice.”
(Pall of a Past World, Knoxville, TN)
“A masterpiece-- lyrics and music form a great unity.”
(Oorlab, The Netherlands)
“Steeped in the traditions of Appalachian mountain music, but with brilliant and insightful lyrics, Joseph Houck is a special songwriter.”
(Return to Normal, North Judson, Indiana)
New Single "Invocation"
Photographer: Anna Houck