Harvest Fest music: Spotlight on Joel Valle

Please tell us who inspired you to start playing guitar and when did you start playing?

I actually started on piano when I was about 8 and though I loved and felt the music, the theory work was rather challenging and frustrating. When I was 10 my dad got me a small guitar one Christmas and after my first lesson, I knew about 8 chords.

It came really easy to me so I took it and ran with it. That's really what inspired me.

Within one month I knew five songs and with two months I wrote my first song.

You played extensively this year at the Hood River Saturday Market and at Stonehedge Restaurant this summer. How did that go?

This year I played everywhere in the Gorge. It was a great experience and I was busy almost the entire summer. My experience taught me a lot. The music business will drain you and expect to make sacrifices to keep growing. There were weeks I had between five and six gigs, sometimes two in one day. You gotta be built for it. Not an easy task but always worth it. That’s how it feels at 24 years of age, it might change some day.

I saw that you have a kids’ music CD available. How did you get involved in that project. Do you do concerts just for kids, too?

I was actually just a hired gun for the “Mi Guitarri” album. Though I sang and played on all of it, I only wrote one song myself. It’s part of Erica Fisher’s curriculum with the Calico Spanish program.

I do concerts upon request but they’re usually classrooms already using the curriculum.

Someone told me you were the winner of a Hood River Fair talent show a few years ago. What was that experience like and what songs did you play?

I actually did the Hood River County Fair talent show a total of three times. Once when I was 14, I didn't even place in the top 3.

I was talented, but I wasn't entertaining enough. They said I looked bored. I then performed a mandolin/guitar duet with my sister when I was 16 and placed second. The next year I performed James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” and placed first. I believe that was 2005.

Will you be playing Harvest Fest solo or with friends?

I will be playing solo. Most of my shows have been solo using my loop station. A loop station is basically a live recording device which I use at times to record a rhythm track live during a performance and then play a lead part over the top, simulating multiple guitars playing.

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