About Joe Uker

Joe Uker’s original music basks in a mix of acoustic, indie, lyrical, and folk genres. His style is original. With a voice straight from the heart, his music tells stories and asks questions. Forging deep tributaries between himself, his surroundings, and all the people within, he brings a mix of eclectic, welcoming energy.

Uker was born & raised in hard-working, small town Iowa. He grew up singing in church and school, and played trombone for 10 years. His journey into songwriting truly took flight in Iowa City in 2002, where at 18 he taught himself to play guitar.

There he started performing cover-songs for his friends, family, and wrestling teammates at the University of Iowa—mostly 90’s country music and acoustic versions of the Foo Fighters.  He began writing songs during that time, and exploring additional musical genres. Influence came from bands like Coldplay, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews Band, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The end of his athletic pursuits catalyzed a void, sparked more self-expression, and helped him find his lyrical voice. A few months later, he began performing originals at open-mic night at The Mill Restaurant, a local haven for musicians. Uker caught the interest of a local piano legend, David Zollo, who took him under his wing and gave him an intimate view of the efforts and sacrifices of a professional musician. His next few years—completing dental school—were musically expansive. He continued to travel, wrote tirelessly, and accumulated hours of original music, adding a live track looper and a set of neck-harnessed harmonicas. Uker headlined and opened for Zollo from 2006-2009, garnering exposure at venues across Iowa, and established himself as a singer/songwriter. He recorded and co-produced his first studio album, Speaking of Stars, in 2008. The title of the album reflects the way he sees the world; immensely small when compared to the stars above, but worth every lyric and chord.

Between 2009 and 2012, he performed his solo act across Iowa and in Denver, CO venues and community festivals, as well as performances in London, England, where he studied abroad. His influences continued to broaden, with musicians such as The Beatles, Led Zepplin, The Shins, Greg Laswell, and Joshua Radin.

In December of 2011, Uker recorded a raw album of tracks at his residence in Denver, CO. Dubbing the album “Bea Sides,” after the love that inspired the music. The collection highlights vocal harmonies and multiple guitars, and demonstrates Uker’s transpiring progression as a musician. Though not yet released nor mastered, you can hear some of the tracks under the Tunes tab at the top panel.

In 2012 he moved with his then fiance to the banks of the Mississippi River, planting roots in La Crosse WI. There he has performed at weddings and private events since 2012. Uker is set to begin performing in the Coulee Region again this summer, 2015. Follow Uker’s updates on the News tab and catch a performance to hear one of the most original and melodic voices to strike a chord.

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Uker performs earnest, organic, and alluring music with distinct, unrecognizable vocal artistry, leaving the listener falling for something wonderful and intangible over and over again.

Tuning up the guitar before a gig in London, England.