"Joe is one of those timeless orators and communicators. His songs and personal accounts of his mentors and family bring the music almost more to life than is possible. He transports you to his world and you come away feeling like you personally know those most haloed and important musicians from the past. A real National Treasure."
~Sam Lee, The Magpie's Nest, BBC Folk Club of the Year 2010
Penland's eclectic performance style keeps his audiences on their toes, as they never know what to expect next. He frequently interrupts a haunting ballad mid-verse to launch into a sometimes-irreverent monologue that just seems to come to his mind, but he always makes the situations or emotions of the song a personal experience.
“We invited Joe to our annual Cousin’s Gathering to sing and tell his stories. Everything was going great when one of the kids asked if he knew any scary stories. He proceeded to tell one about his great, great Uncle Hodie and the hog. That was two years ago and three of the children and at least one adult are still sleeping with the light on!”
~ Pat Franklin
“I have just experienced the emotional highlight of Whitby Folk Week.”
~ Taffy Thomas (England’s premier story teller) after Joe’s Whitby, England performance.
“In this age of mobile broadband and hi-definition television, we sometimes forget that Western North Carolina’s greatest treasure was once found at the end of dirt roads on old wooden porches. But Joe Penland has not forgotten.”
– News Record & Sentinel
“Joe Penland puts his stamp on every performance.”
~ Mike Yeats, Musical Traditions Magazine
“Joe’s after dinner show at our convention at the Grove Park Inn was magnificent. During the hour he was on stage, you could have heard a pin drop. We hung on every word.”
~ Melanie Prater, Southern Living At Home
“Joe Penland’s stories will make you thirsty for more local history,”
“Walking four miles pregnant to sing for an Englishman conjures enough images to last the whole evening….and then there is the one about the chicken riding the chicken coop down the French Broad!”
~Laura Boosinger, Executive Director of The Madison County Arts Council.