Daily Discovery: Joseph LeMay, “You Still Do It”

LeMay 600x400Joseph LeMay wrote his album “Seventeen Acres” in the most authentic of environments, his 17 acre property in rural Tennessee. His music embodies the story-teller tradition of country/roots music. His sound harkens back to a calmer, peaceful era and creates a timelessness that makes it easy to engage the listener.

Videos by American Songwriter

ARTIST: Joseph LeMay

SONG:You Still Do It” of his debut record ‘Seventeen Acres’

BIRTHDATE: 2/7/1990

HOMETOWN: Dyersburg, TN

CURRENT LOCATION: Just moved back to Nashville after two years on our farm near Dyersburg.

AMBITIONS: Geez, I don’t know if I can type them.  I want to make a great record every year or so.  I want to play great shows all around the world.  I want to live and work on my own terms.  At the risk of sounding trite, I want my songs to find their way to people who need them.  I want a pair of sunglasses.  I want spring and fall to last longer.

TURN-OFFS:  Not a huge fan of Pepsi products.

TURN-ONS:   I’m beginning to realize that I am almost always in the mood for a really good cheese burger.

DREAM GIG: Carnegie Hall

FAVORITE LYRIC: I can’t choose, but one of my favorites is from a Blake Mills tune “Women Know”.  It’s more about his delivery than the lyrics themselves, I think. “How will I ever know it’s real?  How do you think that makes me feel?”  So sharp.

CRAZIEST PERSON I KNOW: Are we talking clinically? Throw a dart at my family.

SONG I WISH I WROTE: Currently in awe of “Sweet Adeline” by Elliot Smith and “Out On the Weekend” by Neil Young.

5 PEOPLE I’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH: 5 is too many.  Louis C.K. and Bill Withers.

MY FAVORITE CONCERT EXPERIENCE:  My buddy Dan and I drove to DC to see Fionna Apple and Blake Mills last fall.  It’s still the best show I’ve ever seen.  


This song came together in pieces, very organically over time. I had just begun doing these night walks around the farm.  It was fall I think.  The air was thinning out for winter, and you could hear coyote’s all the way across the river.  I started humming the verse melody and some lyrics-pretty close to the final lyrics-came to mind.  It reminded me of a Willie Nelson song.  I could hear his voice sitting perfectly on the melodic lift between “moon” and “shines” as well as on the slide into “Late at night…” at the top of verse one. I wrote both verses that night, but didn’t have a chorus.  I made a voice memo and left it alone.  A few months later, it popped into my head while driving and it hit me that the chorus should be big and open like an old Motown number.  Something with a lot of room to breath.  I think I finished it that afternoon.  It was one of those that you don’t need a guitar to write.

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