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Minnesota Fringe Reviews: 'Solid Singing and Story-telling' 

Here's the latest review in Minneapolis:

"I didn't know what to expect from this show, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It is not a play, but rather a band combining storytelling with music. There was just one guitar player and one keyboardist, and two other vocalists; all four of them took turns singing lead and back-up vocals. The stories are based on real people in America; many of them were quite sad and upsetting, while others were sweet and uplifting. I was almost moved to tears a couple of times, for different reasons. The lyrics were clear, well-written, and captivating, but the best part of the show was simply the music itself (especially the vocals of the two female singers). I just sat in the theatre, letting the music wash over me, and I absorbed it like a sponge. The Garage's acoustics make it the perfect venue for this show, and it's one I definitely recommend." (Heather Baldwin, Minnesota Fringe Reviews, August 13, 2010)

More reviews from the Twin Cities 

Riveting stories, told in song (five stars)

"Within the cozy confines of the Theatre Garage, 'Joe's Cafe' serves up an interlude of impeccable story-telling, set to music. Rupert Wates' song-writing is elegant and spare. Delivered by musicians who've mastered their craft, it is exquisite." (Roberta Parker, Minnesota Fringe Reviews, August 10, 2010)


From Sandra McDonald, Minnesota Fringe Reviews, August 10, 2010:
"Simple stories that might have long been forgotten.... sung so beautifully!"

From Amelia Kritzer, Minnesota Fringe Reviews, August 10, 2010:
"Joe is a talented chef."

Joe's Cafe 'highly recommended' 

We opened Joe's Cafe live at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage last night, and we were pleased to find the following review this morning about the performance ("Delivers exactly what is promised," by Sharon Kahn, Minnesota Fringe Reviews):

"There's no need to describe this show because the description on the show page is detailed and accurate. All you need to know is that the show delivers exactly what the description promises.

"The songs are simple, clear and poignant with lovely melodies and the musicians are very talented. Each song has a single lead singer (they take turns) with the others sometimes performing backup harmonies. All the singers have strong, sweet voices, making it easy to understand the lyrics (important with story songs!).

"My only nitpick is that some of the songs would have been more effective if the ending hadn't been telegraphed by the song introduction, or in one case by the title. Have the confidence to let the songs tell their own stories, folks! If you have to explain the context, do it afterwards so you don't steal the story's thunder.

"The Theater Garage is a great venue for this act. The open bleacher seating around a bare floor lends a feeling of intimacy that works well with the material, and the sound fills the space perfectly. Highly recommended."

View Magazine Online: A musical revue that is 'truly magical' 

A review of Joe's Cafe live from View Magazine's online edition:

"This show would fall under the category of musical revue; however, expect some top–notch storytelling as well. Rupert Wates, Stacy Lorin and Valorie Miller create lasting images with their songs. Let go and follow the journeys they fashion with their music. It is truly magical when voices come together and the particular chemistry of this trio is undeniable. Some might say this isn’t theatre, but it certainly isn’t just for music lovers. Try it out!" (Katie Penrose, July 22-28, 2010, Hamilton Fringe Festival 2010 Reviews from View Magazine Online)

Hamilton Fringe Reviews: 'Highly recommended for a change of pace and of heart' 

Another Joe's Cafe live show review: This one from the Artword Theatre's 2010 Hamilton Fringe Reviews website

"Rupert Wates is a musician and song-writer and plays a mean guitar. Flanked in a simple setting by his two songstresses Stacy and Valerie (I think I’ve got their names right, as there’s no programme) the group takes us on an American journey through the 20th century. It’s a seamless and smooth trip, with only minimal intros by Wates, and a word or two from his partners. Val has the look and sound of the sixties, singing her ballads in the kind of defensive detachment we remember from seeing US TV and films of the period. She has a clear and convincing delivery. Stacy is warmer, evoking recollections of her country’s folk tradition, of snow falling in New York and tragic love in South Dakota. Wates takes centre stage with more of a poet-balladeer to his stories, touching on disparate subjects from George Carlin to the emotions of the American experience in their several wars. One senses his quiet leadership of the group, of the gentle director, like a leader of a commune. It is a real pleasure to hear and feel the sounds of our southern neighbours, and sense the genuine affection they have for their century of troubles and tendernesses. The less than an hour it takes seems too short. Highly recommended for a change of pace and of heart. It has five more performances to go, and the next is today, July 18, 3:30 pm at the Studio Space, Theatre Aquarius." (Tom Mackan - Fringe Reviews, July 18, 2010)

Ontario Arts Review: 'A fast-moving one hour of accomplished entertainment' 

From a review of Joe's Cafe live this week at Theatre Aquarius Studio in Hamilton, Ontario:

"Rupert Wates; [Valorie] Miller and Stacey Lorin, are all about as professional as it gets, with voices and momentum that project the story behind each varied offering... There was one offering sung a cappella by soprano Lorin- chorus line …‘in South Dakota’, that left the audience so spellbound that applause was both hesitant and delayed. If you are a Folk fan, or even if you are not…this is a fast-moving one hour of accomplished entertainment." (Danny Gaisin -

Reviewer on 'Joe's Cafe' live in Ontario: 'Magic goes into overtime. Don't miss this show.' 

At the opening night of "Joe's Cafe" live in Hamilton, Ontario, we were well received by the critics. Here's an excerpt from one review:

"The moment Rupert Wates strikes the first chord on his guitar and begins to welcome you, you will know you are in good hands and are in for a real treat. Wates, along with his two friends, Stacey Lorin and Valorie Miller, spend the next sixty minutes telling stories and creating poetry with music. Wates has a true poet's gift to create images that leave lasting impressions. How wonderful to encounter lyrics that tell stories again. They have been absent far too long. The other element of this wonderful evening is Wates's virtuosity on the guitar. Hie fingerpicking is mesmerizing, as are his melodies. His two friends display their own virtuosity as well, Ms Lorin with a haunting rendition of 'The Skies Of South Dakota', Ms Miller with the moving 'Darkness, Darkness'. When all three sing together the magic goes into overtime. Don't miss this show." (Reviewer: Tim Koetting)

'Joe's Cafe' reviewed in German magazine Folkworld 

(Translated from German)

‘Welcome to Joe’s Cafe’ – so the audience is greeted by the singer in his first song. It is a friendly invitation that one is keen to accept and which one also does not regret. Fourteen true stories are recounted in his cafe, like growing up on a farm. Memories of a snowy day in New York are also provided. A stand-up comedian presents himself, and there’s a very beautiful story of an old man in the mountains, upon whose land a platoon of US soldiers in the Second World War took up their quarters, made tea and then moved on. All the stories are very well told. Rupert Wates plays guitar and has composed all the songs. The songs are sung by a range of guests in this imaginary cafe. Occasionally a violin supplies an accent that reminds one of coffee-house music. As a result, at several places you find yourself swaying along. However, several ballads and one blues on the CD make sure that this doesn't become a habit. The visit to Joe's Cafe is well worth it.

- Karsten Rube, Folkworld
Original review in German

First review of Joe's Cafe 

I thought you might like to know that the first review of the album has appeared, in a Danish online paper. Go to to see the review. If your keyboard has a 'translate' function, click on it and you a rather garbled translation from the Danish will appear. It's a good review, anyway, and singles out some of the tracks for praise. The reviewer has also taken the trouble to download all the segments of the video made at the Metropolitan Room.