When Joe Bye decided to move to Colorado in 1992 it was for one purpose only: music.
A native of New York’s Long Island, he always felt like a small fish in a big pond, at least when it came to his passion. But, on the other hand, Joe grew up happy with a loving family’s support and opportunities to make good decisions regarding his future. Although his banker father and conservative, stay-at-home mom wished for him a more typical, mainstream existence, they supported their son in all his endeavors and accepted that he was a singer and musician at heart.
He studied music in college and discovered early on that, unlike his friends, he could not be a part-time performer or just a teacher. Joe wanted to be a “rock star.”
As a teen Joe and his buddies could be found jamming in the basement of his parents’ home where they were always welcomed. In due course he kicked off his entertainment career as a wedding singer/guitarist and was the recipient of enough acclaim to practically make a living at it. He says the movie “The Wedding Singer” mirrored his life, and there were just not enough engagements. Beyond that, he wanted to play the tunes he had written, and such engagements did not permit anything of the sort.
Prior to making the move here, Joe worked a regular job, got married and became father of two children. The 1980s saw him in several corporate positions, all of which began within a municipality and evolved from there. Beginning as a sub-contract administrator, he eventually educated himself in policy and procedure and worked for a transit authority there in New York. There were other jobs – good ones too.
Still, Joe’s true desires haunted him and he always kept an ear out for performance opportunities. All he was hoping for was encouragement when a good friend and fellow wedding singer contacted him. The man had moved to Colorado and was literally taken by the music scene singing praises of Denver to Joe. Obviously, his friend was quite convincing, for not long after, Joe, his wife and two children made the move to Colorado.
Once he'drelocated, Joe played the ski resort venue at such places as the Breckenridge Hilton. He was well received from the beginning and became a standard solo act on the resort entertainment ticket. His wife at the time wrote poetry, and Joe combined her words with his music into more original tunes.
During this same period, Joe returned to college and pursued a degree in general studies and technology. Within a year of moving to Colorado he had completed his education and landed a new job with a biotech firm. But, even then Joe continued to play, meeting musicians and people who could further him along his way. Such establishments as the Little Bear and Golden’s Buffalo Rose featured Joe as the opening act for many known performers, such as Steppenwolf, Jim Messina and Kris Kristofferson.
Ultimately, the rigorous confines of a day job got to Joe and he quit biotech in 1996 in search of something better. That action spurred him and his wife to take on the challenge of the restaurant business. Without much reservation the couple acquired the Bucksnort Saloon, which thrives to this day and is a favored destination of many an out-of-towner, as well as locals. Situated at 7,040 feet in the Denver foothills, it is only minutes from the town of Pine and highway 285 and remains a “must see” for visitors.
More importantly, Joe’s singing helped to make the place famous; and he accessed a fair amount of that notoriety to further his music. He says that he met great people there who helped to make him a recognized solo performer. In addition, Joe and his wife expanded the family, making him a father of three.
But for Joe, the restaurant business wasn’t forever and neither was the marriage. After 20 years, he simply walked away from it all. Recognizing what had long been an unpleasant union, he exchanged material gain for peace of mind. Dead broke, but happy, Joe was able to pursue music on a full-time basis.
Like years earlier, he returned to teaching to augment the money he made from performing. He started with 15 students at the Evergreen School of Music. Today that figure has risen to 30 students, and Joe says he loves it. As a matter of fact, he says that he learns more from his students than they do from him. He encourages students to “find their own voice” no matter how they get there and just learn to play. He teaches performance as well and emboldens his students to play in public whenever given the chance.
This past April Joe flew alone to Nashville to have three of his songs and a couple co-written songs re-mixed by way of a prominent producer. Fortunately, he was able to record with Dolly Parton’s keyboard player, as well as Rod Stewart’s guitarist.
The town mesmerized him, and he found it very relaxed and open to new musicians. The price was high; but as always, Joe had friends to help him along the way. In the end, besides the two CDs Joe recorded years ago, he was able to have five tunes recorded; all of which are radio ready. His genre is and always has been Independent Rock, or better known as Adult Alternative Album Rock. Now all he has to do is get the radio stations to give them all a continuous spin.
Among all these jobs, talents and changes in lifestyles, Joe Bye remains a dedicated, working supporter of the Evergreen community. He has been seen playing at many a charity event, including fire and flood relief fundraisers. From the Evergreen Animal Protection League benefit to the recent Evergreen Center for the Arts performance, where he shared the stage with the Kamikaze Klones, he is there to contribute. Indeed, Joe even gives the “open mic” at the Muddy Buck Café a go from time to time while encouraging his students to perform. When Joe plays with accompaniment, he is always booked as Joe Bye and Friends.
Besides a performance agenda and his many students, currently Joe maintains another day job. He is a cheerful worker at a ranch where he tends to livestock and greets each day in the open. He says he enjoys the freedom of the outdoors and the work involved.
More important is the current life he shares with Linda, his new lady. Between the two of them they partake in the lives of their combined family of six children, adoring each one of them. Joe says he’s happy and content to wait for that ever-so-needed agent to come along so his career can really take off. In the meantime, everyone in Evergreen and the surrounding areas is encouraged to support their very own “rock star,” who appears to be loved by all.