"Envy" Official Music Video World Premiere!


Blues diva Joyann Parker releases her new music video today, entitled “Envy.” The single is from her new studio album, Hard to Love, which dropped April 13. 

Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Parker first performed in public in church, at the age of two. She never looked back. Now she’s a gifted instrumentalist and songwriter whose electrically-charged voice infuses the blues with delicious textures of luscious soul. 

“Envy” rides a funky blues-flavored tune with a throbbing, elemental groove. A trilling organ holds down the high notes, while a cavernous bass supports the bottom ones. The middle relies on the tonal glow of a superb guitar, metallic and twangy. 

Parker’s gorgeous, galvanizing voice guarantees the song’s feel, mood, and bluesy tang. It’s a voice full of dark sonic textures and nuanced timbres replete with venomous hues of envy, yearning, regret, and a yowling, growling tarnish that injects the tune with femme fatale intensity. 

The lyrics relate Parker’s jealousy of her lover’s wife, as she speculates on the similarity of the beguiling lines he uses. Still, as powerful as the lyrics are, it is Parker’s rancorous delivery, full of gall and spite that impregnates the words with reproachful energy. 

“Do you talk to her / Like you talk to me / Do you tell her that you love her / Say she’s all you need / Do you tell her she’s the best thing you’ve ever done / Do you look in her eyes and tell her she’s the one / Oh, and do you call just to hear her speak / Oh, do you talk to her like you talk to me.” 

The video, directed by Daniel Cummings, merges shadows with hints of light into a ghostly presentation permeated by the sinister sonic mauling of the green-eyed monster.

“Envy” oozes the essence of begrudging intimacy and passionate emotions. The bluesy harmonics pulsate with tight, raw tones, and Joyann Parker’s soul-laden voice imbues the music with Jovian vitriol, evoking a welter of reactive feelings. So much so, that if she keeps it up, she’ll be the new Queen of the Blues.

Feature Profile By Jon Bream of the Minneapolis Star Tribune 

This midlife newcomer is the next great Twin Cities blues singer 

Joyann Parker is the new Twin Cities singer you need to hear. 

By Jon Bream Star Tribune 

APRIL 13, 2018 — 9:50AM 

Joyann Parker is the best Twin Cities female singer you’ve never heard. 

Imagine a sober Janis Joplin. And that’s a good thing. Imagine a taller Shemekia Copeland without the my-dad-was-a-blues-star pedigree. And that’s a really good thing. 

There’s pain in Parker’s heart — and in just about every song she writes and sings. And, onstage, the grimace on her face, the clenched fists and the ache in her roar let listeners know that she knows hurt. 

“We play rhythm and blues,” Parker recently told an audience between songs in the Mudd Room in Mendota Heights. “Sometimes we’re more blues, sometimes more rhythm.” 

Whatever she plays, Parker owns it. Not bad for a classically trained pianist and married mother of two grade-school kids from Andover who just discovered the blues — the music, that is — nearly five years ago. 

“Some of the unhappiness comes from me. Bad relationships in the past. I struggled with anxiety and depression. I’ve been in dark places,” she confided over tea before going to pick up her 10-year-old and 7-year-old at different schools. “I’m a storyteller. I gather stories as I go. I’m an empathetic person. I’m a good listener.” 

Joyann Parker band 

What: Album release party for “Hard to Love.” 

When: 8 p.m. Fri. 

Where: Crooners, 6161 Hwy. 65 NE., Fridley. 

Tickets: Free, $15 reserved seats; 763-760-0062 or 

Midlife newcomer Parker, 39, doesn’t have a manager or booking agent. She handles those responsibilities herself. She usually gigs on weekends at smallish spots like Vieux Carré or Crooners, where on Friday she will celebrate the release of her second self-released, self-produced album, “Hard to Love.” 

“The first album [‘On the Rocks’] was much more rock because those guys were more rock players,” Parker said of her old band. 

Now she gigs with more experienced players. “These guys have much more skill,” she said. “These are arranged tunes. The first album, the songs were too long, too many solos.” 

Taught herself blues, guitar 

Parker is a quick study. In northern Wisconsin, she grew up on country and classic-rock, with Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton being the closest thing she heard to the blues. But after being introduced to Muddy Waters’ music in 2015, she went to school, studying him and his influence, Robert Johnson. Then she graduated to a star Waters influenced — Buddy Guy. And so on. 

“I wanted to know the rules before I broke them,” she explained. 

Next she taught herself how to play guitar. Studying classical piano from age 4 until she earned a degree in instrumental education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse helped her understand the six-string instrument. 

Parker, who grew up in tiny Mellen, Wis. (near Ashland), was going to be a high school band director or music teacher. After teaching music at a couple of elementary schools in the Twin Cities, she ended up as a stay-at-home mom and, currently, an assistant to a lawyer who happens to be the lead guitarist in her band and her songwriting partner. 

“We finish each other’s stuff,” Parker explained of Mark Lamoine. “He’s more of a poet. His lyrics are more obtuse whereas mine are more straight up, like I’m talking to you. We’re necessary for one another for the finished product.” 

Said guitarist/songwriter/lawyer Lamoine: “She’s fun to write with.” 

They met at a Twin Cities blues contest. Parker sang Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” (she entered at a friend’s urging) before advancing to the national competition in Memphis in 2015. A longtime accompanist on piano at church and for musicals, she’d never been in a band before. Now she gigs with two 60-something guys and two guys closer to her age. They all have day jobs. 

On “Hard to Love,” Parker’s influences are apparent from classic Stax to Motown sounds, with a taste of Patsy Cline and Chuck Berry, and a little New Orleans seasoning. Plus, the title track, which closes the album, is inspired by the Great American Songbook, with Parker using a smaller voice in her upper register to whine about romance. 

In concert, Parker sells her songs with her voice and her conversation. Before introducing the tune “Home,” she explains that she suffers from depression and that the song was sparked by a friend’s suicide. 

“I like sharing that. I can’t be fake,” Parker said. “I’ve had so many people come to me and say ‘thank you for sharing your story and I had this happen’ or ‘my brother took his life.’ If I’m open, maybe it’ll help someone else be open. I had another friend from high school who just took her life two days ago. I wrote that song to help other people.” 

In addition to her rhythm and blues gigs, Parker does a Patsy Cline tribute show. 

“She’s a blues singer. I get her. She didn’t let anybody tell her what to do,” said the fast-learning musician, who gets her hair done special for every Cline show. “She was very headstrong and very business-minded. I’m like that.” 

Her kids understand 

Even though Parker’s children may not completely understand it, they know what Mom does with her music. So they sometimes excuse her when she gets spontaneously inspired to write a song. 

She’ll sing into her phone or jot words in a notebook. Or retreat to the bathroom. 

Songs just happen. Like “Hard to Love.” 

“I was drawing a bath and I just started humming. I went: ‘I’d better go write that down.’ I turned off the water after I grabbed the notebook,” Parker recalled. 

Her kids have seen her perform at festivals in the summer. Her son, 7, gave her a pink notebook for Mother’s Day to write songs. And he took his Legos and created the Joyann Parker Band. 

Mom proudly pulled out a photo of it on her phone. And he misspelled her first name on the handprinted banner above the bandstand. 

“Everybody does,” she said with a big smile. 

But once they witness her live or on recording, they won’t forget her name.

Dreams Do Come True 

I have been so busy I haven't had much time to process the last week. I had the blessing of being able to realize a dream last Friday night when the band and I got to play the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant. For those of you who may not know, the Dakota is one of the top clubs in the Midwest and has been for 30 years. This is the place I sat 12 years ago and said "Someday, I want to be on that stage." At that point in my life, I had no way to do it as I was not in a band, I was working at a daycare as an infant room teacher and I really had no way to reach my goal. 

Thankfully, God had other plans for me and in that funny way life works I got to see a dream come true. I got to do what I love for a crowd of people who came out to listen to the music that I wrote. That is amazing.

Thank you to the band that made me sound so great that evening, Mark Lamoine, Allen Kirk, Tim Wick and Michael Carvale and thank you to the Dakota for the opportunity to show you what I've got. 

Here are some great photos by the fantastic photographer Jim Vasquez. 

Good Things Are Happening 

Good things are happening. They truly are. I believe in the power of positive thinking and in having an attitude of gratitude. When I'm grateful for the things I have, whether it be the roof over my head, the clothes on my back, or even the coffee in my cup, I find that life is always better. I have a spring in my step and joy in my heart, because I'm not dwelling on all the bad, I'm thankful for all the good. And if you truly sit down and spend a minute thinking about it, most of us have a lot of good in our lives. For example, that picture? I get to look at that view every summer. And that is GOOD. Not everyone gets to do that! I am blessed.

I'm thinking about this because I've been a bit down lately. Part of it is the Minnesota winter. But, part of it is that the artist's life is terribly hard sometimes, just like everyone else's is, but in different ways. You depend so much on what other people think to make your living but you must always keep looking inside yourself and creating what makes YOU happy as well, because if you're not happy with your art, no one else will be, either. It's hard to keep a balance mentally.

Another difficult part of this job to balance is being the booking agent, manager, accountant, band leader, promoter, marketer, songwriter, lead butt-kicker and whatever other job needs doing PLUS adding in time for my family and just time to RELAX!  I am not sure where to find the sanity or the energy some days. But you know what? I Just. Keep. Going. There is no time for me to sit down and feel sorry for myself. I must move. I must push. I must reach. I must create. I must sing.

So, I just keep on keepin' on. I cannot live in fear of the future or what might happen, because fear is immobilizing. I cannot get anything done in a state of paralysis. My career will not move if I wait around, hoping for the best but fearing the worst.

So, if and when the sky comes crashing down, I'll be here with a smile on my face. Don't jog around the bases, run as hard as you can. As Hunter S. Thompson says, 

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

See you soon.