Los Angeles native Chris Joyner learned boogie-woogie piano at age five, and by 19, was offered his first major record deal by Universal’s DGC Records with The Freewheelers. Joining the band just before they entered the studio to record their debut album, Joyner altered the DNA of The Freewheelers’ sound with his 'patented' syncopated piano style, earning immediate comparisons to Dr. John, Leon Russell, Professor Longhair and the like. He later went on to do extensive touring with The Wallflowers, followed by securing a place in Soul Asylum.
Fast-forward to 2015, and Joyner has earned a reputation as one of the music industry’s go-to pianists and keyboardists. He’s consistently called in for recording sessions and worldwide tours with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Jason Mraz, Ray LaMontagne, Sheryl Crow, Tom Morello, Amos Lee, Citizen Cope, Jack Johnson, Sara Bareilles, Ben Harper, The Madden Brothers, Mason Jennings, Rickie Lee Jones, Shelby Lynne, and Heart — and that’s just to name a few!
After years of supporting friends and colleagues, Chris Joyner has something to say, musically, for himself. In May 2015, with the support of the music community who proudly ‘let him go’ and encouraged him to share his own stories with the world, Joyner released his sophomore album, Domino. “This is the perfect moment to strike,” he says. Indulging in the primal roots of his influences, like Dr. John, Stevie Wonder and The Beatles, Joyner feels he has found his voice, and more importantly, the conviction to tell his story.
“I wrote this album while my decade-long romantic relationship was falling to pieces,” he says. Suffice it to say, Domino is a record of love and heartbreak. It was performed intuitively and expertly by Joyner (piano, Wurlitzer, acoustic guitar, B3, vocals), alongside his closest musical cohorts including Adam Topol on percussion (Jack Johnson), John Bigham on background vocals (Miles Davis, Fishbone), Adam McDougall on additional keys (The Black Crowes), and members of the Grammy-nominated jazz quintet Kneebody, who arranged the album’s horn section. Domino was produced and mixed by Scott Seiver (who also played drums on the record), and mastered by S. Husky Hoskulds.
Although Domino was written during a dark period in Chris Joyner’s life, the project compellingly morphed into his light at the end of the tunnel. Sonically, it captures his determination to keep trekking forward and kick away the gloom that lingered over his head. “Hold & Keep,” a song that Joyner holds dear to his heart, was written for his sister Dawn, who lives with lupus. “The song is about loss, but was purposefully aimed to not be too heavy-handed,” says Chris. “Producer Scott Seiver and I intended to concentrate on the beauty of renewal and have the song be inspiring.” 100% of proceeds from the sales of “Hold & Keep” will be donated to the Lupus Foundation of America, in honor of Chris’ sister.
With songs like “I’ll Be Fine,” full of swinging bass lines, straight drum grooves and collective improvisation, Joyner’s charisma and years of experience in collaborating with other artists shines through. For music lovers who appreciate bold live performances and hark back to the days of soul-spirited music, Chris Joyner is an ace and Domino is only the beginning.