When the opportunity arose in September to interview the talented, award-winning artist Lucky Joe in my role as contributor for Tejano Nation, I panicked. I knew Lucky Joe had recently collaborated with Tejano superstar Elida Reyna, but I considered him more of a Tejano/Norteno artist and I felt unprepared. So I did what any journalist worth her salt would do: I googled “Lucky Joe.”
Within my first couple of hits, I struck gold. I found a documentary, not just a video interview, but an authentic, behind-the-scenes experience with Lucky Joe by Juan Morin, Jr. . The half-hour long documentary captivated me from start to finish (and with my somewhat limited attention span, that’s saying a lot!). When I was finished watching, wiping unexpected tears from my eyes, I felt like I personally knew the man himself, Lucky Joe.
Perhaps that’s why when John Henry Medina, the mastermind behind Tejano Nation, and I, walked into Lucky Joe’s RV Sept. 7 for the interview after his performance at the New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center, I wanted to walk up and hug him. I told him I had watched the documentary and felt like I really knew him even though we were meeting for the first time.
The man behind the documentary, Juan Morin, Jr., takes Lucky Joe fans and those new to his music, which was myself at the time, behind the media image of an artist and reveals with entertaining yet sometimes painful honesty, the man, the music and the memories that combined to create the humble, humorous and sensitive musician who we know as Lucky Joe.
The production takes viewers to Ed Couch Elsa, Texas, Lucky Joe’s home, and we see where Lucky Joe found music at his school, the bar and restaurant where he worked in his teens, and perhaps my favorite part of the documentary, to the home beauty parlor where Lucky Joe’s late mother worked and interacted with clients, all who saw a young Lucky grow into a man and into his raw talent as a musician and vocalist. The interviews with those who first and best know Lucky Joe complete the portrait.
Morin knows how to tell a story, no doubt, and perhaps more importantly, he lets the artist talk and makes them comfortable enough to let him into their world. We watch Lucky Joe get his haircut as his sister and he reminisce about their beloved mother; we ride alongside him as he travels the route of his childhood and early musical beginnings; we even see the artist as he stands backstage, accordion strapped on, and psyches himself up, with closed eyes and obvious concentration, for his performance. Then, Lucky Joe walks on stage and into the spotlights.
I was lucky enough, no pun intended, to meet Morin at the 39th Annual Tejano Music Awards on Nov. 16 and look forward to collaborating with the talented storyteller to do what I’ve always loved: give fans a real look and inside access to the artists they love.
Watch the documentary and see more of Morin’s work. Also, see the interview I eventually conducted with Lucky Joe where I felt prepared, thanks to Morin’s documentary. Also, get ready as Tejano Beat and Juan Morin, Jr. prepare to collaborate!