Inspired by jam icons Dave Matthews and the Grateful Dead, the Joe Cagle Band's namesake, lead singer and rhythm guitarist Joe Cagle called his band "a fusion of country, rock and jazz."
Cagle, who released a solo EP in 2015 titled "The Dogwoods," just released a five-song EP with his band earlier this year called "Fill Your Head."
Now, Cagle hopes to continue playing live music in Huntsville and expand to venues around the state.
"I've always been around what I like to call good music"
Cagle was born and raised in Arab. He said his mother used to play the piano at church, and he picked up an interest in music through her as she introduced him to classic rock legends like the Eagles and John Mellencamp.
"I've always been around what I like to call good music," Cagle said.
When he was in high school, he started playing the guitar with his friends and came across the Dave Matthews Band.
Cagle was immediately hooked.
"I started watching Dave and listening to Dave and became borderline obsessed," Cagle recalled.
Cagle started writing his own songs at the age of 15 and eventually expanded his taste to other jam bands like the Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic and Phish.
"I'm a huge Grateful Dead fan," Cagle said.
The origin of the band and "The Dogwoods"
Cagle has been playing with guitarist Judson Murphy and base player Tim Dixon for nearly a decade.
"[Judson, Tim and I have] been playing together for a long time, probably for about close to ten years," Cagle said. "Judson helps me put songs together. He's a good songwriter as well. Very good guitarist … Tim's also helped me out a lot. He's got a really unique style playing base."
The three finally decided to produce "The Dogwoods" in 2015, which they released under Cagle's name.
"I guess you could say that's the first Joe Cagle Band recording," Cagle said.
Later, Cagle added saxophonist Jim Beck and drummer Blake Andrews to officially form the Joe Cagle Band. The band's most recent addition was keyboardist Wes Wierich.
Cagle said each member of the band brings something special to the table.
Murphy has played for a handful of country bands in the past, adding a unique twist to the jam band and acoustic influences brought by Cagle himself.
Cagle said Murphy is also heavily influenced by John Mayer, who in 2015 introduced his already massive fanbase to the Grateful Dead's music when he joined Dead & Company.
Dead & Company is Grateful Dead original member Bob Weir's resurrection of the original iconic jam band, including other original members like Mickey Hart and Bill Kruetzmann, but also new additions such as Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers Band and Meyer.
"What Dead and Company did to Judson is what they did to millions of other people because they've never listened to the Grateful Dead," Cagle said. "Lots of Dead fans."
Cagle said the influence of the Grateful Dead on his band's music is obvious in their new EP. He described the Joe Cagle Band's playing style as a combination of jam bands and structured country.
"We're not as good at improv jamming as those guys are, but we do like to jam, but I do like to leave things open," Cagle said.
"Fill Your Head"
The Joe Cagle Band's first EP is available on Spotify, Apple Music and all other major music platforms. The band recorded the EP in Decatur at Clearwave Recording Studio with producer Jeremy Stephens.
"Jeremy Stephens runs the studio over there [and] does a great job," Cagle said. "…He didn't overstep. He really wanted us to sound like us."
Cagle now thinks he and his band will be recording there again soon.
"We're all really proud of how it turned out," Cagle said.
Musician, journalist and soon-to-be teacher
For most of his professional career, Cagle has been a journalist in north Alabama, but he's always wanted to be a teacher and a coach.
He got his bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama with the intent of going back to school to get an education degree, but those plans were put on hold when he and his wife had twins.
"Life kind of happened, and life happened quickly for me," Cagle said.
But Cagle had the opportunity in the last few months to coach physical education at Brindlee Mountain High School in Marshall County. He will also coach track and help coach girls' basketball.
Meanwhile, he'll be studying for the Praxis — the test required to get him in the classroom.
Cagle's not the only band member to have primary jobs other than music. Murphy, for instance, works for a food supply company, and Dixon does IT work.
"Almost all of us have kids, so it's tough to get together and play, but when we get together, it's a blast," Cagle said.
Cagle tries to plan shows many months in advance to give everyone that chance to plan ahead. Most of their gigs are being played in Huntsville right now, which he likes.
"We've really been able to cut our teeth there," Cagle said.
Cagle said going forward, he just wants the opportunity to keep playing good music.
"Whatever happens is the way we look at it," Cagle said. "All of us have got the job. We've got the kids. We just want to make music, and we want to play music."
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