Once upon a time, Country Music was known as “Country & Western,” it was called this for a reason. That’s where listeners found songs by such greats as Marty Robbins, Patsy Montana, Tex Ritter and Gene Autry — artists who favored the “western” sounds and values. Somewhere along the way, the “Western” was dropped. Over the past decade the Country Music Industry has increasingly focused on more 70s and 80s pop flavored sounds, in an effort to attract a younger audience.
“I personally can’t live without Western music,” says Joni Harms. “I like a lot of today’s country music, but the truth of the matter is that I’m very serious about keeping the western side of country music alive.” The sincerity in her voice is clear.
“The majority of my songs include lyrics of the west, because I love to write about things I’ve experienced,” she says. “Rodeo, cowboys, and the ranch way of living shows through a lot in my music.”
Indeed, Harms has been praised for her pure country voice since she signed her first record deal with the famed producer Jimmy Bowen, of Capitol Records in the early 1990s. Since that time Joni has released eight more outstanding albums.
Joni Harms is no stranger to success. She has been a winner of multiple Academy of Western Artists Awards including top honor for Entertainer of the Year in 2002. In 2003, Harms was named Female Vocalist of the Year and accepted the award for Song of the Year from the Western Music Association. Harms continues building audiences through appearances on the famed Grand Ole Opry and even an appearance at New York City’s Carnegie Hall.
“Growing up, I learned to sing and write songs by listening to Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and George Strait,” says Harms. “I remember seeing Emmylou Harris, and, after playing a while with the famous Hot Band, she returned to the stage with just her black Gibson guitar and proved that you don't need all the electronic equipment to entertain your audience.”
Harms lives on a ranch in Oregon with her family that was homesteaded by her great, great grandfather in 1872, this has been an inspiration for many of her songs. Joni says, "I always want the songs I sing to be a good representation of who I am."
Joni has been given a wonderful gift from God and represents it well in her music. With less frequently used words like "God" and even "Cowboy," Joni is not afraid to sing about what she truly believes in.