Who We Are Not
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Who We Are Not

Chesapeake, VA | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Chesapeake, VA | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Jazz


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Hampton Roads’ Shreds: Who We Are Not @ Cafe Stella"

It’s easy to forget that our scene is more than young maniacs burning venues down after midnight. Truth is: Gen X is still out and about making music that matters.

For the most part they’re in bed before the witching hour — there are children to wake in the morning. The bottle of whiskey has been replaced by a more moderate glass of sangria. Covers of “Back in Black” may more accurately be re-titled “Back to Salt and Pepper” — but that doesn’t mean they can’t rock in a sensible fashion. After all, this is the generation that formed the glory years of the long defunct Boathouse. They flocked in droves to slam dance in front of the Ramones. Husker Du. The Pixies, et al. If they’re not out there moshing today? Well.. Old bones don’t heal like young bones. Dig?

Who We Are Not | image: Jeff Hewitt

Where older bones excel, however, is in craftsmanship. The kind of tasty, subtle playing Who We Are Not’s centerpiece guitarist Joe Talley exhibited at Cafe Stella last week doesn’t come without effort. It takes years of practice and polish to make it look that easy. Half of a husband / wife duo, Talley has a thing or two to teach the up-and-comers, and it shows in some strikingly clever arrangements. Backed by the steady hand of Dave Hufstedler on stand-up bass along with some funky keyboard work through Vincent “Biggs” James (who is usually on lead git, but taking it easy following some surgery.) Joe weaved a thoroughly enjoyable evening of Folk tinged, Adult Alternative music.

Vital to the band’s mix, however, is Joe’s wife: Pamela Jo Sward. Pamela has been in and around our scene for as long as I can remember — and the chemistry between the two of them is what makes Who We Are Not work. While she’s perhaps noted for her back-up vocals with Roots-Reggae band, Ever-G — her work here is reminiscent of artists like Dar Williams or Sarah Harmer blended with Jazz stylings and Folk riffing. For fans of a particular stripe, there are echoes in Sward’s vocal approach of Margaret Becker.

Who We Are Not has enjoyed great success as they continue their bluecollar approach to making it. They were awarded Best Emerging Artist at last year’s Veer Awards, and not too long ago were tapped to open for REO Speedwagon. There’s an earnestness to the songwriting here that I find endearing, and I have a great deal of respect for Joe Talley’s playing. If I find myself wandering into a coffee-shop one early evening where they’re grooving? I’ll hang and enjoy the show. Cafe Stella has been increasingly beefing up their music calendar with an eclectic mix of bands and solo artists of late, adding to a weekly lineup that includes noted Jazz player Woody Beckner and an assorted cast of rotating guests every Thursday night.

Verdict: A solid group for grown-ups. Folky, jazzy, singer-songwritery.

Give ’em a listen over at Who We Are Not.com. Or check them out at their next gig for the Tidewater Friends of Acoustic 5th Annual Music Gathering at the Barry Robinson Theater & Fine Arts Center, Sept 10th from 4-4:30pm. - altdailey.com

"Trenchless Technology Special Music Section: The Heart of Rock and Roll and Trenchless"

Joe Talley — Market Manager, Kerneos

Joe Talley plays acoustic guitar and sings in his hours away from his job with Kerneos. He vividly recalls the moment he fell in love with all things music, changing the course of life.

“When I was 12 years old, someone brought a cassette tape of Van Halen’s “Van Halen” album to school. That hit me like a ton of bricks and put me on the path to music,” he remembers. “That’s the summer I got a paper route and bought my first guitar. From that summer on, there was only the guitar. No more sports, no more TV, no more swimming. I came home from school and played guitar until my parents made me stop and go to bed.”

Fast forward to 2016. By day, Talley is SewperCoat marketing manager for Kerneos and by night, he plays acoustic guitar in his band Who We Are Not. He describes the Virginia-based band as a blend of different genres, including rock, blues, jazz, folk, funk and soul. Their record label is SoniQual Records, a recording studio Talley is a partner. The band released its debut CD — Just Be — in October 2015 and is getting airplay on stations throughout the United States, as well as being available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, etc.

With weekly gigs on the weekends, it gets tough for Talley to juggle both his trenchless job and his musical outlet but he makes it work. “My job requires considerable travel for sales calls, jobsite visits and tradeshows. My band is regionally active. [Our] recording studio is also very active recording, mixing and mastering area musicians. My schedule is very hectic. My calendar is always full and I rarely have a day off. I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

Joe-Talley-2Talley’s band is unique in that it can be an acoustic duo, trio, quartet or full band, depending on the need. With live weekly shows, Talley can’t get enough of the power of the audience being moved by their music. “It is quite amazing when a room full of people sing along to our music,” he says. “We have one song charting with the Americana Music Association. It’s awesome when people line up to buy our CD. It’s almost surreal to meet famous musicians. Last year, we opened for REO Speedwagon. That was a very cool experience.”

The best part of about Talley’s musical passion is that he gets to share it with his wife, Pamela Jo Sward, who is also in the band. Together, they write, record and perform. Talley has simple advice for those who have a passion for a hobby such as his. “If you love it, do it. It’s fun,” he says. “Keep your day job though!”
Fast 5

Favorite Genre:
I love it all: from Miles Davis to P-Funk to Frank Zappa to Dr. John
Musical Influences:
Neil Young, Norah Jones, Zeppelin, Amos Lee, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Rage Against the Machine, Dave Brubeck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Brown
First Song You Learned to Play:
“Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash
Favorite Equipment You Use:
I have I have artist endorsements from Stonebridge/Furch Guitars, Lampifier Microphones and DI’s, InEarz Audio, KAM Instruments Corp., and S.I.T Strings. I am also rather fond of my Composite Acoustics carbon fiber acoustic guitar, my Jerry Jones Neptune electric guitar,
and my Fender Vibro-King amplifier.
What’s on Your iPod:
“All Your Favorite Bands,” Dawes; Laugh About It, Tedeschi Trucks Band; “Love Is Innocent,” Colin Hay; “Bright Lights,” Gary Clark Jr.; and “Get There,” Who We Are Not - Trenchless Technology Magazine

"Album Review: Who We Are Not"

Who We Are Not
Just Be
SoniQual Records

“Life and love and long walk contemplation.”

That is what Who We Are Not are all about. On “Long Walk,” the opening track of their first CD, Just Be, husband and wife singer-songwriters Joe Talley and Pamela Jo Sward lay down the template for what is to follow: sweet medium tempo grooves, catchy melodies, lyrics punctuated with memorable phrases that leap out and lie in residence in the listener’s consciousness. For the next hour, they lead their band through a dozen original songs filled with those three elements: life, love and reflective ruminations.

Pamela Jo takes the lead vocal on most of the songs, and what a gorgeous, expressive voice she has. She’s one of the best on the local scene and when she’s multi-tracked harmonizing with herself, the sound is impeccable. Her lyrical wordplay on a number like “Familiar” is a highlight of the songwriting: “It’s like I’ve seen your face before…was it in a bar, or maybe it was Whole Foods.”

Her long contemplative walks yielded some tasty fruit as well. “Beautiful Sunset” paints an evocative picture atop Bonn Scott’s pedal steel guitar. “Living in the Past” may borrow its title from Jethro Tull, but it’s the prettiest, most thoughtful piece on the record and features Joe’s best acoustic guitar work. “We’ll Find Our Way” is hypnotic.

Mid-tempo Vibra-Toned funk fuels Pamela Jo’s remembrance as she asks herself why did she “Hesitate” when the real thing arrived in her back yard. The closing “Happy Hour” recalls Average White Band from the ‘70s, sans horns.

Joe steps out front on three songs with his Robbie Robertson-like gravelly whisper. The most effective of these is “Get There,” a lost-on-the-way travelogue punctuated by call-and-response with PJ, retro wah-wah guitar, and Hendrix on the radio. “Old Dog” manages to bring Jesus, a good woman and the titular canine together down by the river in a slow-drag rocker complete with blazing fuzztone electric guitar.

The Talley twosome has assembled a crack band with a couple of local legends and one young newcomer. Bassist Dave Hufstedler has been a mainstay of the region’s jazz scene for four decades. Known through the years mostly for his electric work, here he sticks with the big ol’ acoustic standup bass, tastefully anchoring and propelling the groove, soloing succinctly and even contributing vocal harmony.

Vincent “Biggs” James, best known in reggae and R&B circles, adds tasty bell-like guitar lines, licks, accents, splashes and mellifluous leads. Twenty three year old drummer Cody Thornton is as solid as Charlie Watts but with a broad palette of rhythmic hues. Guest musicians include pedal steel man Scott, percussion masters Greg Lee and Eric Talley, string plucker Cory Spivey, and Pamela Jo’s dad Sid Sward, the go-to accordionist in Hampton Roads.

Joe Talley’s production at Portsmouth’s SoniQual Studios is first class, crisp and clean. The songs, the playing, the sound—with Just Be, Who We Are Not have done themselves proud. - Veer Magazine

"Who We Are Not funnels folk, jazz and pop into a new CD"

The band is called Who We Are Not, and its new CD could just as easily be titled "What Aren't We?" Depending on which track you listen to, this is a jazz outfit, a folk rock group or a retro pop group drawing on 1960s and early '70s influences (think somehwere between Joni Mitchell and Maria Muldaur).

The actual name of the disc us "Just Be," which is just as well, because it doesn't matter what genre you try to assign. Who We Are not ... just is.

And it is good.

You can see them Friday morning on "The Hampton Roads Show" (WAVY-TV 10, 11 a.m.). - The Dailey Press


Still working on that hot first release.



Who We Are Not is a very entertaining group and our band members are all excellent, diverse, and extremely talented musicians. We provide a fun, entertaining, and professional performance.  We are a 5 piece full band, but can also be an acoustic duo, trio, or quartet. Our music has been described by others as acoustic folk jazz, but we just say its music. The members of this band come from diverse musical backgrounds. This melding of talents gives us our unique sound. Our music is a combination of originals and uniquely done covers that incorporates many genres and styles.

Band Members