Joni Harms has probably been popping up on the radar of Lusk Herald readers for a few weeks now. Mark Barcus of Cow Camp Saddlery has been advertising and promoting Joni for her upcoming concert at the Niobrara County High School. What many in Lusk and the surrounding area don’t realize is the magnitude of star that we will have the opportunity to see in concert on Friday, January 18that the NCHS auditorium. Joni Harms has been heralded by Country Music People Magazine, Women’s Day and Sports and Entertainment Nashville as one of the best at what she does, writing new material about the western way of life while also staying true to country music’s roots. Joni has been singing and writing country music for as long as she can remember, taking cues from musical influences like Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Merle Haggard. She signed with Capital Records in 1990 and hasn’t looked back since. Her latest album is Lucky 13 and Joni does consider 13 her lucky number. Her daughter was born in room 13 at 1:13pm on June 13th. Two days later on June 15thJoni took her daughter to a large festival where she played on the bill with other major stars such as Clint Black. 13 is definitely her lucky number.
When I spoke with Joni I had no idea of her notoriety among the county western world. I was speaking with a warm and vivacious individual who clearly loves both what she does and the lifestyle that she sings about. She comes across as genuine and enthusiastic about all of her fans and concert venues whether they are the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville where she has performed multiple times or our little stage in Lusk, WY. She has affection for her rural fans that have shown her decades of loyalty and support. Joni lives on a farm in Canby, OR that has been owned by six generations of her family. Between raising cattle, cutting hay and touring 160-plus days of the year Joni definitely stays busy and finds plenty of inspiration for her song writing. Music and her family were at the heart of her battle against breast cancer. When given the advice to stay home to rest and recover from surgery and and prepare for chemo instead of embarking on her European tour, Joni knew that while her doctor’s advice might have been good, the best medicine would be to keep doing what she loved so she packed her bags and headed out on the road touring Germany, France and Switzerland.
In recent years Joni has begun writing and touring with her daughter Olivia, a singer-songwriter in her own right and who will be joining Joni for the Lusk performance. They have included Lusk in their 2019 tour schedule thanks to a phone call that Mark Barcus made to Joni. He mentioned that he had seen her at Cheyenne Frontier Days 10 years ago and had followed her music and felt she would be a good fit for the concert series that Cow Camp has been working on for the community. He saw that she would be performing in Denver and wondered if she would be able to fit Lusk in. Joni jumped at the opportunity to perform in the type of small town with roots the same as her own. When asked where her favorite place to perform is she cited The Grand Ole Opry, Denver Market and she is also excited about her upcoming New Zealand, Australia and European tours. While the large venues and large band performances are fun, it is the smaller venues like Lusk where it is just Joni, Olivia and their guitars doing the “Story behind the song” performances that Joni really finds rewarding as an artist. That opportunity to connect with the audience and authentically share with her fans is what keeps Joni coming back to places like Lusk, WY.
Fans can purchase Joni’s CDs at Cow Camp Saddlery and will also have the opportunity to meet Joni during a Meet and Greet there from 3-5pm on the Friday of the concert. They can also visit her website: www.joniharms.comor like and follow her FB page to keep up on Joni’s 2019 tour and music releases. Her concert on Friday is sure to be a good one and fans of country music won’t want to miss it.