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interview: Joe Baldassarre

By Anthony Garone

Dr. Joe is professor emeritus of music at Boise State University. He's also a prog rocker.

Dr. Joe Baldassarre is a professor emeritus at Boise State University. He taught medieval and classical music, published music history and theory (and baseball!) author, performed with and led several bands in Boise, Idaho, and released a few musical works His most recent release, The Path, is a mix of progressive rock stylings and early medieval/renaissance music with some Canterbury-style instrumentation and arrangements.

The album features 9 tracks, most of which are original tracks with a couple of modern arrangements of 15th century music and a prog cover of Will You (Still) Love Me Tomorrow, made famous by the Shirelles in the early 1960s. Dr. Joe plays several of the instruments on the album, including electric/acoustic/slide guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, vocals, symphonia, lute, penny whistle, saxophone, flute, fife, and harmonica. I don’t know about you, but that list makes me feel like an underachiever.

Listening through the album as I write, I am reminded of these bands:

My friend Jake Ineck, an amazing musician and student of Baldassarre’s, gave me a copy of The Path and offered me the opportunity to interview Dr. Joe.

We cover a lot of ground in the interview. The main topics include:

  • His personal and musical background
  • Working as a studio musician
  • Working as a music professor
  • Listening to and finding new music
  • Progressive rock
  • Blending genres, a la Gentle Giant
  • The appeal of weird music
  • The Path: Composing, recording, and making the album

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