Dividing his time between Columbia and St. Louis doesn't make Joe Stickley any less our native son. His album, Friendship's Quiet
, arrived in 2003 as quietly as its name suggested it might, but it made faithful followers of those lucky enough to nab a copy at a live show or online. Stickley writes simple songs about simple things he loves: his wife, his state, his home. Sometimes the best things are also the least complicated, and Stickley proves this by merging the singer-songwriter influences of James Taylor or John Prine with the more modern pop sphere occupied by the likes of Joseph Arthur and Pete Yorn. He plays a few acoustic shows each year but is just as often backed by a full band, which adds layers of acoustic richness to his songs without complicating them or weighing them down. It is a testament to the quality of his songwriting, which is as close to flawless as a young, unknown Missourian is likely to get.