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CD Released on Inside Recordings, LLC

LOS ANGELES, Calif. May 1, 2000—With a sound that brings to mind images of Woody Guthrie, Wilco and vintage Neil Young, Joel Rafael Band's Hopper is a story-telling album, rich in detail, that blends contemporary folk Americana with heartfelt songwriting and a world beat. The first single to be released is a cover of Woody Guthrie and Billy Bragg's "Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key."

Released on Inside Recordings, a label that Jackson Browne started last year, and produced by Rafael with Paul Dieter (I'm Alive, Looking East-Jackson Browne, Blue Indians-John Trudell, After the Storm - CSN, Live at the Wiltern - CPR) and Dan Rothchild (Better Than Ezra, The Lost Butterfield Tapes), who also played bass, Hopper brings the listener right to the heart of the subject at hand. With collaborations by Joel's daughter, Jamaica, on "Beside You" and spoken-word artist, John Trudell, on "China Basin Digs," all songs are originals by Joel with the exception of "Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key." The album is distributed by E-squared and RED.

"Joel Rafael is an artist that I met a couple of years ago as he began to work with my recording engineer Paul Dieter," says Browne. "Because Joel's record is so elegant and so well made, and because we know it will do well with or without us, and more or less in the manner of all true record company executives, that is to say, as opportunists, we want to be involved."

Winner of the New Folk Emerging Songwriter Award at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, Joel and his acoustic band hail from San Diego with Joel Rafael (lead vocals and guitar), Jamaica Rafael (violins and violas), Carl Johnson (acoustic lead guitar) and Jeff Berkley (ethno-percussion). Hopper celebrates the rich essence of Joel's voice as his songs draw from real-life experiences. Joel's family and friends are often the characters that populate his ballads as the band serves up a slice of true-blue Americana in every song.

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