The Beach Boys have the iconic smash “California Girls.” Cheap Trick penned the catchy but underheralded “Southern Girls.” Butch Walker wrote and recorded the under-the-radar “East Coast Girl.”
Where’s the love for the ladies of the Heartland? Well, Joe Stamm has crafted a song for them. The emerging country-rock singer-songwriter has written and recorded the anthemic “Midwest Girl.”
“Set a guitar rhythm that’ll get her spinnin’/across the barroom floor/Dip, spin, strip it down, twirl/damn I love a Midwest girl.”
When Stamm, a laid-back vocalist-guitarist, was asked about his inspiration, he laughed.
“It was about time someone wrote a song about a girl from the Midwest,” Stamm said by phone from Nashville. “Don’t you think it’s overdue? I wrote a song called ‘Feel Like Me’ and that song mentions a Midwest girl in the lyrics. I started thinking that there are so many songs about girls from all over the United States and all over the world, but I couldn’t think of any songs about the girls from this part of the country. I thought, ‘How can that be?’ I was just moved to write the song and boom, it happened.
“The reaction has been good whenever people hear ‘Midwest Girl.’ The first time I played that song it blew the roof off of the venue. That song gets requested more than any other song I do. I love it. I know all about the Midwest girls.”
Stamm sings from experience, since he grew up in the middle of Illinois.
“It’s not very different if you compare where I come from and Iowa,” he said. “My girlfriend is from Clear Lake, Iowa. She is my Midwest girl, but I grew up with plenty of those girls in Illinois.”
When Stamm was coming of age, his focal point was sports, not music. He had considerable potential as a high school football player, earning a scholarship to play quarterback at Northern Illinois University. However, injuries ended his career on the gridiron.
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“That was difficult to deal with,” he said. “I was so passionate about sports. I loved playing football, but when that ended I had to find something else to be passionate about.”
Stamm, who will perform Friday (1/11) at the Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon in Iowa City, isn’t the first country artist to leave the world of sports and find success in the music industry.
“There’s a connection between sports and music,” Stamm said. “It’s performance. I’m just glad I found something that I love in which I can perform. I loved playing football but the crazy thing is that music is what I’m meant for.”
Stamm, who has opened for Travis Tritt, Blackberry Smoke and the Kentucky Headhunters, is singing about another kind of lady these days. His latest single, the catchy ballad “Dandelion Woman,” was released in October.
“It was time for me to release some singles,” Stamm said. “It’s time for some new stuff.”
Stamm and his country rock band recently recorded in Lone Tree’s Flat Black Studios.
“I was there all day yesterday,” Stamm said. “I love that studio and I feel so at home in Iowa. That’s whether I’m in the studio there or playing venues in Iowa. What I love about performing there is that the people who come out are always so enthusiastic. That’s how I was growing up. I was always so passionate about music.”
George Jones, Johnny Cash and Creedence Clearwater Revival are the recording artists who inspired Stamm to pick up a guitar.
“They were all so great,” Stamm said. “I aspire to make records like they did, which is making records that stand the test of time.”
WHAT: Joe Stamm Band
WHERE: Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon, 4919 Walleye Dr. SE, Iowa City
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday (1/11)
TICKETS: $5 advance, $8 door, Wildwoodsaloon.com
BAND WEBSITE: Joestammband.com