Up Where He Belongs: Joe Cocker at Telluride Blues & Brews

Up Where He Belongs: Joe Cocker at Telluride Blues & Brews

One of the truly great rock voices of all time agreed to be the closer opening day, Friday, September 18, of Steve Gumble's 16th annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. And why not be neighborly? The enduring gravel-throated super star, Joe Cocker, lives just up the road a piece in Crawford, Colorado.

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Joe Cocker has never been part of the cubicle empire. Like so many baby boomers, he lived a lifetime on the edge of social insurgency. Today, however, it's fair to say Joe Cocker is "up where he belongs." riding a solid groove. When not on the road, as he was last year, promoting his 2007 release "Hymn for My Soul,"  Cocker is holed up with his beloved wife Pam at the Mad Dog Ranch, a happily-ever-after kind of place where a favorite hobby is growing tomatoes.

Born May 1944 in Sheffield, England, Joe Cocker is the youngest son of a civil servant. In 1961, Cocker worked by day as an apprentice gas fitter. By night, in a dark suit and bow tie, he morphed into his evil twin, Vance Arnold, the lead singer of his group, The Avengers, to perform covers by mentor Ray Charles, classics like "What'd I Say" and "Georgia On My Mind," in rough and tumble Sheffield pubs. The first big break came in 1963 when The Avengers backed up The Rolling Stones at Sheffield City Hall. From that moment on, Joe Cocker's life has been a roller coaster ride, at once scary and fun.

Joe Cocker has a new studio release up his sleeve, a modern look at classic R & B scheduled for the new year. Mad Dog will never be fully tamed, but the brassy R & B singer appears comfortable these days showing shades of light: the rocker in a rocking chair.

To learn more about this living legend, click the video "play" button and watch our interview with Joe Cocker.

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