"Beyond the charts and their restricted repertoire you sometimes discover pearls of music and female singers who really have something to say. Joy's enrapturing voice flatters, denies, promises, lies and compliments you, all at the same time and always honestly. She has something that you rarely find in today's music scene." - KULTUR!NEWS, Germany
"Very rarely do melodies move into your ears as charmingly as they do when listening to this album. If you are in love or are about to fall in love buy this album and surprise someone with these wonderful pop odes." - DISCOVER, Germany
"This is a highly emotional album; these songs express the pure joy to live and to love." AKTIV MUSICMAGAZIN, Germany
Originally released in Europe in 2001, Paradise is the first CD by Joy and the Boy. The duo met at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2000 at a jazz jam session and immediately began collaborating. After six months of recording, Paradise emerged - a diverse collection of funky, folky, emotive and exploring originals. The sound was unique, unclassifiable, ear catching - the group affectionately refer to it as cosmic pop. The Joy and the Boy are singer-songwriter Joy Dragland and musician-producer Leo Sidran.
While earning her degree in English literature, Joy Dragland began performing professionally. Within a short time, she was gigging and recording with notable Midwest jazz legends like Richard Davis, Manty Ellis and Ben Sidran. She honed her jazz skills, and cut her teeth on classic jazz standards, all the while writing her deceptively simple original songs. By the time she met Leo, Joy had an arsenal of songs that had never seen the light of day. She explains, "These were songs I played in my bedroom alone, or maybe for a few friends. I never expected them to end up on a record".
The process of recording was more intuitive than planned, and that searching quality is clear in the sound. The songs speak of love, loss, desire, and coming into adulthood out of the vast American mid west. It is curious that while the musical roots of Joy and the Boy are deeply American, the band has enjoyed much more success in Europe than at home.
Although Paradise is virtually unknown in America, it enjoyed popularity in Spain and Germany, where Joy and the Boy toured in the fall of 2001 and spring of 2002. Their remake (the only cover song on the record) of Marvin Gaye's soul classic "Let's Get It On" played in the top 40 on Spanish radio, and became something of an infamous indie hit. After catching a Barcelona performance, Spain's El Pais called Joy and the Boy "an astonishingly pleasant surprise".