106: Joe Goodkin / Joe’s Odyssey
In trying to make music for everybody you wind up making it for nobody.
Joe Goodkin was a part time singer songwriter, part time paralegal with a penchant for classical Greece and a sensitive side. After years of playing in bands he realized that the big record contract was not coming anytime soon and taking a band on the road was economically impossible. But he knew there was a place for him as a musical storyteller. One day, he dusted off a project he had started when he was just out of college, a musical companion to Homer’s Odyssey, and started thinking about how to present it and himself in a new way.
For over a decade he’s been touring the country singing a one-man original 30 minute musical retelling of Homer's Odyssey for audiences at revered institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, and many others, over 200 performances in 33 states.
Based in Chicago but a road dog at heart, Joe continues to write his own brand of quirky, emotive and highly personal stories about his experiences. His career is completely unique, and speaks to the possibility of carving out a niche as a musician today. Rather than throwing a wide net, he chose to control his own narrative. As he tells it, “in trying to make music for everybody you wind up making it for nobody.”
Joe came to the Third Story headquarters recently to explain what it means to be a “modern bard”, how to keep material fresh after playing it hundreds of times, and why the personal really is universal.