Best Songwriter - 2005
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.