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American Streets: Anthology 2005​-​2019

by Joel David Weir

Worktown 04:35
Thin Places 05:18
I Am A Boy 04:21
Gina 02:33
Wounded Lion 03:52
Night Sharks 02:45
The Last War 03:53


Aldora Britain Records are extremely excited to release our first ever album-length original record. This anthology from Joel David Weir, entitled American Streets, consists of songs from his back catalogue, recorded between 2005-2019. Listeners will hear a classic American sound, somewhere between folk rock and country folk, and will notice attention to detail in these real life story-based songs. A fine snapshot into the depth of an artistic mind.

Joel has been kind enough to write up his own in-depth liner notes, so I will let him do the talking! Enjoy.

For fans of Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits.

** 'Thin Places' will be used as a radio single for this release. **



Originally released on Worktown, 2005.

I was working for the post office as a rural carrier when I wrote this song about my hometown. I recorded it in the attic of the 1874 Victorian home I still reside in. I strived to paint a picture of small town American life in the midst of change, with an eye to the faith in the underlying goodness of people here to take care of one another. I was listening heavily to Nebraska by Springsteen, the American Recordings by Johnny Cash and immersed in Brian Wilson during the writing and recording of the Worktown album, which the title track first appears on.

'American Streets'

Originally released on Saint In The Door, 2006.

My father, Dean, died in August of 2005 from pancreatic cancer. The album of home recordings, Saint In The Door, was at once a collection of songs written out of the grief proves but also heavily influenced by the life and writings of Maria Skobtsova, Francis of Assisi, and the music of 'god-haunted-mystic-social' songwriters like Bruce Cockburn, Bill Mallonee and Indigo Girls. 'American Streets' came naturally, as a snapshot of the place where grief and vocation meet, at once, perhaps on an ordinary bus commute on the day of one's father's death.

'Thin Places'

Originally released on Thin Places, 2015.

I did a crazy thing in 2006. My family and I moved to the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania to attend a remote seminary attached to an Orthodox monastery for four years. While I didn't remember exactly when I wrote 'Tin Places' except that I first auditioned it at my in-laws famous campfire singalongs. It was a hit - especially with her sister, Naomi. Naomi would later be diagnosed with stage four colon cancer at the far too young age of 27. It became her fight song. I recorded the song years later with a folk rock quartet called The Balhinch Quarterly. The song is a favourite live - my local pub has made famous the shout of 'Screw it! Screw it! Screw it!' in the chorus. It's still Naomi's song. Always her.

'Warrior Of Alamo'

Originally released on Thin Places, 2015.

Alamo is a ting town south of my hometown. My dad grew up there in the 1950s. He was the tenth all time leading scorer for the Alamo Warriors basketball team (he would remind us that in his day there was no three point shot - so, he's probably higher on the list, properly). My dad told me a story about how, as a kid, he threw a scout knife and killed a cottonmouth snake he saw in Sugar Creek - our local body of water. In the 1970s my dad worked as a typesetter at the local publishing factory - the biggest employer in our town at the time. My older brother's best friend was black. My dad found out that the local country club pool was still segregated and would not let my brother's friend swim there. My dad cancelled their membership there and built his own pool. That was my dad, and this is a song about him. Every word is true.

'I Am A Boy'

Originally released on Closet Songs I, 2016.

After the release of Thin Places, which was really a collection of songs written over the previous ten years, finally finding a home, I struggled with a bout of depression, writer's block and a bad case of procrastination when it came to songwriting. I decided to take one week, set up one microphone in a closet in my home, write a song a day, record it that day, not overthink it. It was one of the most formative and important weeks in my life as a songwriter. To this day these songs are among my favourites to play live. They also feel like dear friends who showed up in one of my darkest hours as a writer and pulled me through. 'I Am A Boy' is consistently a fan favourite. It's a song about coming of age, about the confusing process of finding identity in the midst of pressures to conform. I hope it helps someone out there who is struggling.

'Private Life'

Originally released on Closet Songs I, 2016.

Another song of immediacy written during the Closet Songs session. I wrote this after watching the news about Eric Garner, a black man who was choked by police officers after being arrested for selling loose cigarettes. Captured on camera, Eric pleaded 'I can't breathe' eleven times before breathing his last breath. It's a song about seeing something you wish you'd never seen but needed to. It's a song about the privilege of a private life while others suffer and die publicly. Performing this song live is always a deeply personal, visceral, even painful experience, but one that is necessary.


Originally released on Closet Songs I, 2016.

I wrote this song in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shootings in Orlando, Florida. As a person of the Christian faith, I wondered about the muted and mixed response from people of my faith, and even what might lurk in my own heart about people I might find 'different' or 'other'. I thought about what it means to truly be a neighbour. A friend relayed a story of an ER doctor the night of the shooting, noting how people were carrying the wounded into the hospital. He asked one group of men the name of a man they had just carried in and they replied, 'We don't know him but he is out brother'. My friend remarked this is the kind of love, not pious platitudes, that moves mountains. 'When push came to shove those words about love were just words I didn't believe' are among the most painful lyrics I've ever written.


Originally released as a single, 2017.

On August 12, 2017, in the midst of the so-called 'Unite The Right Rally', an event organised by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, a young man from Ohio drove his car into a crowd of people there protesting in opposition. Dozens of people were injured and one woman, Heather Heyer, was killed. I wrote this song the same week, in about twenty minutes. It is a lament and a song of resistance and repentance. Never forget.

'Life Is Fragile'

Originally released on Tell The Truth, 2017.

At the beginning of 2018, my band and I started work on a studio album. It would eventually be released in fall of 2019 under the title, The Last War. Those were mostly older songs that I had waited to give a full band treatment. Over the almost two years of working on that album, the floodgates kind of opened in my writing. I ended up recording two EPs at home in 2018. These EPs are among my most vulnerable. The first one, Tell The Truth, is a confessional piece of sorts. The track, 'Life Is Fragile', is a meditation on the fleeting nature of this life, surrender of need to control, and a prayer for the suffering. It has become a fan favourite 'closer' track to my live show.

'Wounded Lion'

Originally released on 818, 2018.

In 2016-17, I experienced several significant losses of friends and loved ones. My sister in law, a close friend, and a musical kindred spirit, all gone too soon in a short amount of time. The 818 EP is the grief record I knew was coming. It started on a balcony in St Augustine, Florida, overlooking a marshland. The first notes of 'Halloween Eagles' showed up and from there the album just poured out. I initially wrote 'Wounded Lion' with loved ones who care for the dying in mind. As I play it live, I had nurses and first responders tell me the song resonated with them. So, from then on, it's been the song for all those people who show up and do the work of caring for and defending the sick, hurt, forgotten, often without acknowledgment or praise.

'Night Sharks'

Originally released on 818, 2018.

Another track from 818. I wrote this song for my brother in law, Andy. At the first family holiday after the loss of his wife, a group of us would go out to the ocean at night. It is not advisable to go into the ocean at night. Among the reasons is that sometimes it is more likely sharks are present. Andy would wade out into the ocean while we made sure he was okay from the shore. 'Just let him do his thing', my other brother in law said. This song, heavily influenced by Springsteen's Nebraska and the rhythmic undercurrents of the work of Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich, explores the place in the process of grief where one must wade into the dangerous, but not too far, and the importance of having that freedom, but also having the safety of loved ones in the wings.

'The Last War'

Originally released on The Last War, 2019.

I wrote 'The Last War' back in 2005, but it didn't get properly recorded until it became the title track of the full band studio release in 2019. It's been a staple of my live show for fifteen years. An anthem if I've ever written one. It nods heavily to my deep love for and early formation in The Beatles and big Brit pop. Lyrically, it's a call out to those struggling and downhearted to keep going. 'The last war you will ever have to fight is for the heart. Against the words and darts of those who tear you down, your shield is love.'


released December 4, 2020

Written by Joel David Weir.

Joel David Weir: vocals, guitars, keys and programming.
Matt Cunningham: drums and percussion on track 3 and 12.
Greg Dyken: bass on track 3.
Tom Henderson: mandolin on track 3.
Matt Jarrard: cello on track.
Paul Myhre: bass on track 9 and 12.
Brandon Pfeiffer: background vocals on track 12.

Recorded and mixed at St. Squirrel Studios, Crawfordsville, IN.
Track 3 and 12 recorded and mixed at Smart Pig Recording and Sound, Crawfordsville, IN.
Additional mastering on track 3 and 12 by Matt Whatley at Combover Mastering, Fort Worth, TX.
Cover photo by Brandon Guise, Creative Guise Productions.
Released by Tom Hilton on Aldora Britain Records (ABR-101).

All songs (c) Saint Patrick Songs (ASCAP).

FB, IG, TW: @joeldavidweir
Booking: booking@joeldavidweir.com

You are loved.

Joel would like to dedicate this release as follows: To my mom, Connie, who made sure all kinds of music were around me since I was born... 'cause music isn't just entertainment... it's essential for life."


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