The Joe Cirotti Trio is a well-oiled string band from the shadows of Northwest Jersey’s Appalachian ridge. In 2015, Joe Cirotti, Mike Alexander, and Pete Lister’s respective multi instrumentalist upbringings fused with a collective passion for the roots of American folk, country, and bluegrass music. In this way the trio’s bond is rooted in proximity, strengthened by a blue-collar passion for picking, and buoyed by their shared propensity for cigarettes and whiskey.
Joe Cirotti’s father got him started on guitar. After his initial introduction to the open chords though, Joe took it from there. Joe’s virtuoso dexterity on the guitar can be attributed to studying Chet Atkins’ finger picking, the wizardry of Doc Watson, or soulful blues vocabulary of David Gilmore. His singing and songwriting, too, are invaluable assets to the trio’s sound. Folks like Tony Rice, Django Reinhardt, and Joni Mitchell helped mold the introspective themes, seasoned harmony, and distinctive identity of the Joe Cirotti Trio.
Cirotti is flanked on one side by Pete Lister on standup bass. Pete’s Dad handed him a guitar at the age of five, and proceeded to serve up healthy portions of the Allman Brothers, Frank Zappa, and Hot Tuna. By High School Lister steered his intentions toward bass, as the 1990s widened his sensibilities to include masters like Victor Wooten and Chris Wood from MMW. In the end, single malt scotch, and Mike Alexander, helped expose Pete to Bluegrass giants such as Flatt and Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers and Peter Rowan.
Mike Alexander’s musical upbringing was equally precocious. By age four, Mary and Richard Alexander exposed Mike to piano and guitar, and subsequently taught him the violin, cello, mandolin and banjo before exiting grammar school. This eclectic exposure decidedly shaped the trio’s mandolinist. Alexander’s appreciation of the Baroque era, and composers like Bach and Handel, has fortified decades of stringed instrument expertise.
In 2021, the Joe Cirotti Trio will release it’s debut full length album.