Papa Joe, aka Joe Kretschmer, is a singer/songwriter in the folk/pop tradition of Tom Paxton and John Prine. He has the rare gift of being able to write songs that make audiences both laugh and cry. Hilarious tunes like "I'm Sick of Being Healthy" and "Chick Flick" are mingled with touching ballads like "Voices" and "The Champagne Man." This last song was an Honor Award winner in the 2002 Great American Song Contest. The whimsical "The Cow Song" won second place in the 2001 Novelty Song category of the Just Plain Folks Music Awards.
Although he started playing guitar back in his 20's, Papa Joe never took it seriously until he reached his 50s. He started to attend open mikes in the Cincinnati/Dayton area, and for a couple of years, teamed with singer/songwriter Mark Weierman as The Ditch Lilies. They were nominated for a Cincinnati Entertainment Award in 1999. Papa Joe attended the songwriter classes at the Kerrville Folk Festival in '97 and '98, and was encouraged by professionals like Michael Johnson, Chuck Pyle and Peter Yarrow of the popular 60's trio, Peter, Paul and Mary. The latter even helped him with some of the wording on "The Champagne Man."
Papa Joe is also a member of the Queen City Balladeers, and frequently emcees the weekly Leo Coffeehouse in Cincinnati, one of the three oldest surviving folk venues, spanning more than four decades. Of course, he regularly performs at the Coffeehouse, and at the summer Edensong Concerts in Eden Park, as well as local coffeehouses and bookstores.
Papa Joe's songs have been played on a number of radio stations in the U.S., Europe and Australia. His song, "Grandpa's Story," has been made into a music video, created by his son-in-law, Tom Duvall. The video has been nominated in the music video category for the 2004 Just Plain Folks Music Awards.