Oregon trio Joseph perform in The Current studio

Joseph perform "White Flag" from their forthcoming album, "I'm Alone, No You're Not" (releases Aug. 26, 2016), live in The Current studio. (MPR/Nate Ryan)
Joseph perform in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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  • Joseph perform in The Current studio (full session + interview) 20:32
  • Joseph - Canyon (live on 89.3 The Current) 02:53
  • Joseph - I Can't Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt cover) (live on 89.3 The Current) 03:03
  • Joseph - White Flag (live on 89.3 The Current) 03:15

Joseph might be an unexpected name for the trio comprising sisters Natalie, Allison and Meegan Closner, but the story behind the name explains all. "It's a town in eastern Oregon that our grandpa Jo grew up in," Natalie says. "I think we all really connect to that place because it's mountains and the lake, and we grew up camping there forever."

It's the Closner sisters' shared life experience — coupled with their tight, sibling harmonies — that characterize the sound of Joseph. "Meegan and Allie have this super Jedi power of just creating harmony out of thin air," Natalie adds. "It just happens, like magic."

Joseph released their debut album, Native Dreamer Kin, in 2014. Their second album, I'm Alone, No You're Not, releases Aug. 26, 2016, on the ATO Records label. On a hiatus from touring (they'll next perform at Bonnaroo on June 9), the Portland, Ore., based trio visited The Current's studio for a session hosted by David Safar.

The group originally came together when Natalie Closner had been touring with some songs that had lost their spark for her. "I wasn't willing to admit that until my friend, Topher, who is from Chicago and is a dance music creator, sat me down and said, 'I don't think you believe in this; I can see it in your eyes. Why would you make art that you didn't think anyone needed? You're just doing this and hoping somebody will say that they like it, but you don't even like it. What are you doing?'"

Looking for what would make the music more compelling, Natalie decided to form a band with her sisters Allie and Meegan. Now, all three sisters are fully committed to Joseph. "This is so cool that we've chosen to make music that we personally connect to, that each day, we can sing it and feel it," Allie says.

Since singing with ATO Records, Joseph got to work with renowned Omaha producer Mike Mogis on I'm Alone, No You're Not. They also got to meet Bonnie Raitt. "I think there's something powerful when you watch her, knowing that she doesn't have to do this if she doesn't want to anymore. You can tell she's doing it because she loves it," Natalie says. "And there was this really profound thing that she requested that nobody bring their phones out during the set; she was like, 'Let's just be here, let's be present.' And that just does not happen anymore. It was this experience where I was like, 'I'm going to get to talk about this later. And I'm here and I'm truly feeling something because of this music and because of this person's presence.' I just get to talk about it. I don't need some blurry photo from so far away back; there was a presence in the room that I haven't felt at a concert for a long time."

During their session in our studio, Joseph perform a cover of Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," as well as two songs from their forthcoming album. Use the audio player above to hear the complete session and interview.

Songs Performed

"I Can't Make You Love Me" (cover)
"White Flag"
Original songs are from Joseph's forthcoming record, I'm Alone, No You're Not, to be released on ATO Records on Aug. 26, 2016.

Hosted by David Safar
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Corey Schreppel
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Words by Luke Taylor

4 Photos

  • Joseph perform in The Current studio
    Meegan and Natalie Closner of the band Joseph performing in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Joseph perform in The Current studio 3
    Joseph perform in The Current studio; left to right: Allie, Meegan and Natalie Closner. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Joseph perform in The Current studio 4
    Joseph perform in The Current studio; Joseph are, left to right, Allie, Meegan and Natalie Closner. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Joseph perform in The Current studio 5
    Joseph perform in The Current studio (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)

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