True Hearted Tracks ---- Sounds Like San Diego, Union Tribune
Honesty is the appeal of Bridget Joyce's pop-rock tunes by Karla Peterson *Arts Writer*
As you might expect from a woman whose favorite color is purple, Bridget Joyce has strong opinions about pretty much everything. She loves San Diego. She hates pretension. She loves her band. She hates the way society objectifies women. And when it comes to her own songwriting, she isn't particularly impressed. "I have never claimed to be a great songwriter. I am what you see. I write simple songs about my feelings and my experiences, and I never thought people would react the way they do."
On her debut EP, "Purple", Joyce's simple pop-rock tunes pack some heavy baggage. Backed by her sympathetic band, Joyce tackles obsession ("Love in Chains"), loneliness ("Missing You") and despair ("Ugly") without giving herself or her listeners the benefit of padding.
You will never know what you did to me, Joyce sings in "Living in Hell," a no-frills portrait of domestic violence. Like the other songs on "Purple'" this lilting country-ish tune has a jaunty bounce to it. But when she writes her lyrics, Joyce bypasses pop art in favor of real life.
"Living in Hell," sounds cheery, but it is a genuine song about a serious subject," said Joyce, who co-wrote the song with guitarist Cliff Edwards. "I like songs that sound happy, even though they are about sad subjects. I hate pretentiousness, and I don't write to impress anyone. I want my music to come across a being simple and sincere, but when people hear it, I hope they also think, "Wow, that's beautiful".
A veteran of the Baltimore club scene, Joyce came to San Diego two years ago in search of warmer weather and a friendlier music community. The weather cooperated nicely. Eventually, her career followed suit. After a profitable stint as one half of a covers-oriented acoustic duo, Joyce went solo in one of the scariest ways possible. She took her guitar and her songs to the Ocean Beach boardwalk, where the audiences could be a tad restless, and the payoff was better then you'd think.
"I was very shy at first, but I did it to get the exposure. I didn't have any connections here, but one week after I started playing on the street, I had a regular job playing at Jungle Java. I had big crowds there, and I used to have nightmares about breaking guitar strings or playing out of tune. But I think my higher self (power) was saying, "this is what you are supposed to do with your life, because everything fell into place".
Whether it was a fluke or divine intervention, Joyce's lucky streak continued. The musicians she recruited to play on "Purple" liked Joyce and her songs so much, they became her permanent backing band. The group went on to win first place in the Belly Up Tavern's "Neighborhood Watch" local-band showcase. A women at a Borders gig was so moved by Joyce's performance, she gave the musician money to help her finish the album. Other true believers have kicked in funds as well.
"People have been really supportive of me. I have always had good luck as a musician, but what has happened to me in San Diego is something different. A lot of San Diego musicians don't have good feelings about the scene. I have heard negative after negative, as in any city, but I don't feel that way at all. I couldn't be happier with the way things are now.
She has survived domestic violence, single parenthood and a terminal illness in her family, so Joyce has learned to appreciate whatever good times comes her way. Bridget seem to be all about the truth and the truth is on her side, and for the people who need to hear it, that's enough.
"I think people respond because the songs are from my heart and very frank," said Joyce. "I have two sides to me. One is the happy, optimistic entertainer side. And then there is the artistic side, and it's not an extremely happy side. I lean towards that side when I write, because it feels natural to write in that vein. I think most people have to smile when they don't feel like it, and everyone has a sad part of them that they are afraid to expose to anyone else."