youtube instagram newsong recordings
May 7th, 2018

Meet LEAF Contest Finalist: Joe Shields

Joe Shields, also known as Cousin Joe Twoshacks, is an award-winning cartoonist-turned-songwriter from Michigan. A decade ago, at the age of 47, Joe attended a songwriter’s retreat and has been writing his heartfelt and original songs ever since.

Late start or not, Shields has made his mark on the folk scene. He is a past winner of the prestigious Kerrville New Folk competition in Kerrville, Texas and recently recorded a new album in Austin, Texas, produced by legendary singer-songwriter and producer Gurf Morlix.

We asked Joe some questions to learn more about his artistic process and vision.

Michigan-based singer-songwriter Joe Shields will perform at LEAF for NewSong’s 5th annual Singer-Songwriter Competition.

What is your songwriting process like?

My process 90 percent of the time comes from finding chords or a rhythm that feel interesting. I noodle with that, and words just seem to come. Other times a line will fall out of my head and bounce on the table, so I try to follow it.

Do you have any songwriting heroes?

My favorite artists were and still are Neil Young, Muddy Waters, and Iggy Pop way back in the day. In the last few years, I’ve made a lot of friends whose music I just love!




What does it mean to you to be selected as a NewSong finalist, and what do you hope to get out of the experience?

I’m a 57-year-old artist. This is an adventure for me. I love the music, the writing and the crazy creatives I get to meet and hang out with. It’s a great honor to be selected, and I’m thrilled to be included.

What would you like your audience to know about you and your music?

I’m a delicate flower that just wants to be loved. Take me home. Plant me in your yard. I have my own tent. I only require fresh cold beer and three meals a day. Just like prison had. My music sounds like all that.