Stamm trades football for music

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Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 5:24 pm

By Brandon C. Hovey

Photos by Chris Hovey

Joe Stamm is a familiar name in Woodford County and central Illinois. The first association with Joe Stamm’s was with football. He was a star player for Metamora High School and played for Northern Illinois University on scholarship.

Now a resident of Lacon, the athlete turned to music after three shoulder surgeries and a music class required for graduation. Music turned from a requirement into a burning passion. He is playing in a band now. Joe Stamm and The 26’ers are a regular sight in the Peoria area, and they are the house band for 97.3FM River Country. His music can best be described as country rock.

Stamm explained the metamorphosis from football to music. He had to take a music class, Intro to Guitar, to graduate at Taylor University. This class was more than an intro to guitar, it was an introduction to a new way of life. Stamm’s college roommate was the producer for his first album, “Five Feet Down.” Stamm’s first solo shows were in the St. Charles area. Listening to music became more important to him in college.

“I started listening to George Jones and Chris Knight,” Stamm said.

Some of his largest influences are Chris Knight and Kris Kristofferson.

Stamm mentions that five more years “means a higher level of writing and a higher level of performance—vocally as well as just the studio quality.”

“Five Feet Down was recorded in the house I was renting at the time,” Stamm said.

“This new album being recorded at Rock Bottom Studios down at Carbondale (by) a professional quality studio, by a producer that does it for a living as opposed to a guy who is just getting into it. On every level you are going to see more quality,” Stamm said.

He also added that the studio is in the Shawnee National Forest and that the five year gap between his first album and this new one has allowed him to hone his craft.

“I think it’s just like anything with practice—the more you do something, hopefully the better you’re going to get at it,” Stamm said.

“Working with this band (Joe Stamm and the 26’ers) has helped me certainly develop as a guitar player, and certainly as a vocalist. It’s certainly benefitted me, and I hope it has benefitted them as well. We play pretty much every weekend—people come to us now. They’re all good musicians who bring their own elements to it,” Stamm explained.

Joe Stamm and the 26’ers are known for performing in the Peoria area, but they are also known for being 97.3 River Country’s house band. He explained how that happened. Stamm made his second appearance on “Relentless Pursuit,” and with the producer learning he was a musician, the show offered to shoot a music video featuring him. Stamm and his band cut the single “Song of the Hills.”

“The television show ‘Relentless Pursuit,’ a national bow hunting program on the Sportsman’s Channel produced the video,” Stamm said. Portions of the music video were filmed at HNH tap in Metamora.

“I emailed 104.9 and 97.3, and told them what we were doing—97.3 jumped right on it. The DJ’s came up, Jen Smith and Shelly Knight. They’ve been very supportive of us,” Stamm said.

Stamm’s music speaks of and for the central Illinois experience. It conveys a feeling of the local ambience.

“I wanna breathe that autumn air. That comes around this time of year in central Illinois. I’m a Woodford County boy,” Stamm sings in his song “Feel like Me.”

His band name, “The 26’ers,” references the band members mutual location around the Route 26 corridor. Stamm is trying to build a brand, and he and his band are having a blast doing it.

Stamm has a straightforward goal, “To get the music I write out to as many people as possible,” Stamm said. For more information visit

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