Find out more about Islandport Magazine

Thoughts of an Average Joe

Softcover, 208 pages, Fiction, Humor

ISBN: 978-1-939017-26-0

Availability: In stock

$16.95

Available as an e-book in these formats:

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble Nook

Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch

About this Book:

In 2009, author Brian Daniels created Joe Wright—a clueless, middle-aged, thick-around-the-middle man hopelessly stuck in the twentieth century. Thoughts of an Average Joe is the hilarious rambling of a man whose commentaries voice the confusion and angst of a simple, old dude trying to make sense of life in the modern world.

In this book, Joe offers his thoughts about the many issues that confuse or annoy him: “I’m Not Ready for the Wireless World,” “Poachers Are Not Hunters,” and “I’m Comfortable in My Old Skin,” are just a few examples. He, like many men, struggles to understand his “little woman” and others of her gender in several essays, including “I’m Afraid of the Little Woman,” and “I’ve Noticed That Women Are Not Like Men."

You’ll meet Joe, Smalltown (his beloved northern New England hometown), his fascinating friends and family members, Dan’s Market, Small-Mart, Blake’s Esso Station, and the Smalltown News. He hopes his stories will bring a smile to your face and warm your heart. Maybe you’ll even agree with most of his Thoughts. If not, he’ll be quick to tell you . . . well . . . you are just wrong.

Thoughts of an Average Joe
Reviews
News

"These short essays are not only very funny, they are stunningly accurate in their vivid portrayal of growing up, working, marrying, raising a family and living in a small, rural Maine town."

—Bill Bushnell, Kennebec Journal
For a full review, visit here

My Top 5: Most Influential Bluegrass Musicians

My Top 5: Most Influential Bluegrass Musicians

By Brian Daniels

My Top 5: Most Influential Bluegrass Musicians first appeared in Islandport Magazine, Fall 2017

Brian Daniels, author of Thoughts of an Average Joe and the soon-to-be-release Seemed Like a Compliment to Me, was born in northern Vermont and has lived in Maine since 1982. He retired as an optometrist in 2014 and as a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1996. He is an avid outdoorsman, a newspaper columnist, novelist, musician, and songwriter. He is a founding member of Back to Basics bluegrass band, which has toured extensively for over twenty-five years, performing at fairs, festivals and events throughout New England as well as in New York and Canada. Many of the songs he has written, including four title tracks, have been recorded by eight different artists. We asked him to tell us his five most influential bluegrass musicians.

Bill Monroe: The “Father of Bluegrass Music”

Bill Monroe was the creator of a new American music genre who is considered by many, including me, to be one of the most influential figures in twentieth century music. Monroe drew upon mountain fiddle music and added elements of blues, swing, and gospel music played and sung in higher keys and faster tempos than had been previously heard in country music and gave it a polished and professional look and sound. I am fortunate to have seen Bill Monroe perform on several occasions and took away from each show great appreciation for his enormous catalogue of original music, professional demeanor, and prowess as an innovator, musician, and singer.

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs

Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys of 1946 to 1948 included Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Scruggs’s hard-driving three-finger banjo style, along with the vocal harmonies of Flatt, Scruggs, and Monroe, evolved to become the sound Monroe had heard in his head for many years—the sound now known as bluegrass music.

Del McCoury

I’m an avid fan of Del McCoury, another former Blue Grass Boy. Del’s voice epitomizes the “high lonesome sound” of traditional bluegrass music, yet he doesn’t shy away from musical collaborations which take him outside the box of bluegrass. As such, he has influenced and performed with the likes of Elvis Costello, Vince Gill, Steve Earle, and the exceedingly popular jam band, Phish. Sitting in the audience of a Del show, one can’t help being blown away by the level of musical mastery of Del and his band and, above all, the down-home persona for which he has emerged as perhaps the most beloved performer in bluegrass music.

The Gibson Brothers

I met upstate New York’s Eric and Leigh Gibson many years ago when they were teenagers (and I wasn’t). Since then, The Gibson Brothers have gone on to become, arguably, the most talented traditional bluegrass band on the planet (I haven’t). They sing and play with extraordinary virtuosity and impeccable taste. In the spirit of transparency, it is fair to mention that my affinity for The Gibson Brothers and their music may be slightly influenced by the fact that my song— “Songbird”—co-written with Seth Sawyer, was the lead track of their award-winning album, Spread Your Wings.

Gene Groves

In 1989, I met Gene at a bluegrass festival at Thomas Point Beach, in Brunswick, Maine. My life as a musician changed (in many ways, started) at that moment. I had been struggling to become proficient enough on my cheap Fender acoustic guitar to participate in the impromptu jam sessions which would pop up at festival campsites, sometimes amongst strangers. Eugene C. Groves was (and is) a piece of work. He is a fast-talking, guitar-picking bluegrass machine who knows and sings the words to hundreds of bluegrass standards. When I asked if he could give me some guitar lessons, he warned me: “Brian, I’ll do it if that’s what you want, but you don’t know what you are getting yourself into.”

“I think I do, Gene. I just want to learn to play bluegrass guitar,” I said.

So, every Thursday night that following winter, Gene would give me, for $10 and a six-pack of Coors Light, a ten-minute lesson, a forty-minute show, and two hours of exaggerated stories of his bluegrass festival adventures told at high speed, in a Maine accent and in a new language his many friends have come to refer to, affectionately, as “Geneglish.” Somewhere along the way, Gene and I discovered we enjoyed singing together. He’d usually sing the lead part and I’d chime in with the “high lonesome” harmony. While Gene is not the best known or most successful bluegrass musician on this list, he has impacted my life as a musician in ways for which I am eternally grateful.

And, by the way: two Martin guitars, three high-end mandolins, a stand-up bass fiddle, five campers, and four trucks (to haul the RVs) later, I’ve come to understand Gene’s prophetic warning.

Brian Daniels is the author of two books of humor, Thoughts of an Average Joe and Seemed Like a Compliment to Me, which is scheduled for release in the fall of 2017.


Q+A with "Thoughts of An Average Joe" author Brian Daniels

Q+A with

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting with Brian Daniels at the Royal Bean in Yarmouth to talk about his new book, Thoughts of an Average Joe. The book, which launches in April, tells the story of Joe Wright, a loveable curmudegon who is hopelessly stuck in the 21st century. Think Stephen Colbert minus the suit and tie.  

Read more of the interview here.

Brian Daniels

About this Author

Brian Daniels is an avid outdoorsman, a newspaper columnist, novelist, musician, and songwriter. Many of his songs, including four title tracks, have been recorded by eight different artists. His first novel, Luke

...

MORE

You May Like