Delta Joe Sanders grew up on Glover Plantation in Desoto County, Mississippi. His father ran the 10,000 acre plantation where the family lived and at an early age, Joe developed a kinship with the help, who also lived on the plantation.
“My first [musical] influence was the farm help playing the blues. When I was about ten I remember one day out walking in the cold. I came upon one of the houses on the plantation. They invited me in to get warm. The kitchen was smelling right. Everyone was sitting around the table.”
His lyrics, often deceptively simple, range from humourous anectdotes of love-gone-wrong to insightful reflections of the struggle to survive in a fast pace world far removed from the earthiness of the Mississippi Delta. Joe describes his songwriting this way: “A song starts working on me, sort of how pearls are made. They just start agitating. . . ”
“Joe Sander’s heart is shaped like Mississippi. Through it runs a Big Blue River spawning tributaries and capillaries like snakes, gentle but dangerous – above which hands kudzu, wisteria and other strange vegetation unnameable except by some half-mad, half-genius horticulturist. His tunes are rare Delta Thundersong birds (endangered and exotic) rising from the mud Byhalian and Greenwooded, strong meat for most of us who lift our beaks for the plastic manna in squared cellophane. Some of his brilliance pops up unnoticed – queer mushrooms grafted amongst our quotidian grapes, teaching our souls to say “more” while our understanding reels backward. Joe offers no gratuitous sanctuary. Listening, one must braid one’s own thread into rope and knead one’s own bread into baked buckets – then dip into th eliving water of Joe’s Big Blue River. Grace and Peace – John Kilzer
Delta Joe Sanders has been a regular in the Memphis music scene for the past 30 years. From the church house to the out house, he plays every venue from the Whiskey A-Go-Go on the Sunset Strip to the sugar ditch social club in Tunica County. Delta Joe has kept country blues alive. A consummate story teller, Joe sometimes uses common Blues themes to spin his yarns. Songs of lost love, liquor, and bad behavior fill his repertoire. Some are romantic odes colored with southern imagery often with a skewed nostalgic sentiment –“I never did like this beautiful old place.” Some make bold statements of pious, prophetic poignancy,” I am gonna quit drinking after the super bowl.”
A regular on the Keith Sykes song writer showcase, Delta Joe has performed along side Nashville notables Marshall Chapman, Richard Leigh, Roger Cook, Buzz Cason, Gary Nicholson, Ralph Murphy, and Alex Harvey to name a few. Legendary Bluff City Blues singer Reba Russell has cut many of Delta Joe’s songs. He recorded three CD’s with The Memphis Sheiks, “Slow Cooked Pig Meat”,” Diamond in The Bluff’ and “Up To No Good Again.” Delta Joe recorded two more solo releases “Always Go with your Heart”, “Another Saturday Night.” and is awaiting the release of his latest project “Working without a Net” recorded at Sun Studio.