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Joe Strell

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Under a Mackerel Sky (2005)

Basic Info

Artist: Joe Strell
: Under a Mackerel Sky
Published: 2005 Satsuko (BMI)
Label: Dansbane Elandet
Catalog: DEI-CAT-0001


Under a Mackerel Sky comprises thirteen acoustic tracks that span a range of tempo and style, yet share a gentle mood that wraps around the listener with the graceful ease of a slide guitar slipping into a note or the gentle trill of a distant mandolin. Strell deftly wields melody and metaphor to unveil the turbulent realms of human emotion, relationships, and existence. These songs combine traditional technique with an alternative sensibility to deliver a message with wit and sensitivity. The music soothes while the lyrical imagery strikes deep, complementing the cool depths of the musical seascape with personal revelation that evokes the universal.


"Mackerel sky" is a metaphor for change. In terms of the weather, a mackerel sky indicates deteriorating conditions. For me, these songs explore the question of what it means to accept the world as it is when it won't stay that way for very long.

Track List

Click on the following links to see the lyrics:

  1. frantic
  2. driving through kansas
  3. this dream to end
  4. better than this
  5. hazy
  6. as i do
  7. i might have guessed
  8. i love new york
  9. dave
  10. my photograph, forever
  11. wanted
  12. manzanita
  13. i'm not looking for trouble (tonight)


The following persons directly participated in the production of this album:

  • Joe Strell - vocals, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, bass, percussion
  • Marie Jacobsen - car door slam on "driving through kansas"
  • Jack Lenzo - art direction, design and photography


In memoriam Ward Toy (1962-2005) and Dennis Jacobsen (1954-2005).

Thanks to Marie Jacobsen, Peter Strell, Drea White, Edward Francis ("Jake") Jacobsen, Margie Jacobsen, Jeff London, Dave Rottenberg, Pat Lyman, Greg Reber, Matt Turley, John Paul Turnage, Alan Strong, Doug Taggart, Doug Pelton, Paul Wiley, Val Hall, Inka, Lynn Canfield, Henry Frayne, Brendan Gamble, Tim Stephens, Brian Reedy, Robert Krug, Tom Krug, Ben Krug, John Krug, Tom Wall, and Alec Dale.


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