Joe MacPhail's musical style is a result of training in multiple genres. He took classical lessons from Grades 3-12 under Mariyana Matinyan, he taught himself Blues Piano via youtube starting in 6th Grade, started playing drums in bands in 8th Grade, and took Jazz lessons under Ed Paolantonio, Jake Silverman, Eric Krouse, and Dan Wall from 12th Grade through Senior year of College. Joe went to Oberlin College ('15), where he participated in jam sessions and master classes by The Punch Brothers, Kendrick Scott, Gerald Clayton, Sullivan Fortner, Johnny Vidacovich, and Snarky Puppy. 

Joe is a founding member and simultaneous keyboardist, drummer, and vocalist of The Oblations. Joe is keyboardist/founding member for DreamRoot, Matt Phillips & The Back Pocket. Joe is a drummer for XOXOK, synth bass player for Emily Musolino Band, and keyboardist for Blue Cactus. Joe has also been a founding member of The Grand Shell Game, and a member of Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey, Joe Bell & The Stinging Blades, and Old 86. He has toured as far as Vermont and Austin, TX. Joe has performed at several festivals, including Shakori Hills Music Festival (9 times), Floydfest (2 times), and Brewgaloo. He sold out Wilmington's "Jazz at the CAM" series as part of A Light Under The Sun.  Now 25, he has played ~1000 gigs and performed on a couple dozen records, but feels like in some ways he is just getting started. 


Joe MacPhail is also an instructor. He took Karate at Karate International of Durham from Grades 1-12, becoming a 2nd Degree Black Belt and a Sensei (Certified Instructor). Part of the Karate International curriculum involves Leadership Training classes, and through teaching in the classes Joe became comfortable with teaching a wide range of ages. Most importantly, Joe learned how to adapt to the student's learning style, finding multiple ways to explain something instead of becoming frustrated.

After graduating from college, Joe taught as part of BUMP: The Triangle from 2015-2017.  BUMP is a unique curriculum that serves urban youth using the history, music, and cultural values of the African Diaspora, with a central focus of building the students' personal resilience. Through his work with BUMP, Joe lead group classes with students from ages 2-14, performed Music Therapy at Senior Centers, and assisted in Curriculum Development, creating interactive multi-sensory activities involving the talking drum as well as aligning those lessons with NC Classroom Standards. Joe has served over 400 children through BUMP: The Triangle. For those interested in learning more and supporting BUMP, go to

Joe is a lead musician for NC Arts In Action. Joe began with AIA in 2016, performing music live in 4th Grade Dance Classes. Joe assists the Dance Instructors and the children in their learning. Joe's mixed musical experience in Classical and Jazz allows him not only to perform the music rote, but to improvise, meeting the needs of the instructor, student, and classroom on any given day. Joe has served over 600 children through Arts in Action. For those interested in learning more and supporting AIA, go to