Visible behind the house built in the mid-1700s, long before West Virginia was a state, is Short Mountain. In that house Joe Hott’s grandfather lived from the 1920s.
6 foot 4 inches tall, the 22-year-old Joe (sometimes Joseph) Hott was born in Virginia and raised in those very mountains of West Virginia. That early life move led to him readily picking up a love for music, fostered by his father and two uncles, who played and sang traditional music.
He didn’t really get inspired by bluegrass music until he was about five or six years of age, when the Lewis Family visited his hometown and did a show at the fairground there, “but I’ve been hooked on it ever since!”
As he went to say when interviewed by Country Music News International ….
“I remember as a kid counting the days until Sunday when we would go to church because my favorite part was singing the hymns. Growing up Brothern we only used piano and a hymn book, since they were pretty old school but, that’s all we needed, and you couldn’t find better church singing than right there in those four walls.”
A youthful fascination with the music of Ralph Stanley – his primary influence – Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, and Hank Williams, Sr., with whom Hott bears a striking resemblance, triggered his creative inspiration as much in the formation of his own vocal and musical interpretations, as in the basis for his own song-writing.
A self-taught musician, Hott began by playing guitar and singing tenor for a small Gospel group in Cumberland, Maryland. Within a year he was the lead vocalist and manager/leader of the group.
Ever since he was a 14-year-old, he has always wanted to write songs and entertain people.
At the age of 16 he acted in a local television show called He’s Alive.
Now maturing, he is still true to his roots, hoping that through the support of his fans he can keep the traditional style of bluegrass alive for many more years to come. Being raised in the mountains he has an inbred, deep respect for old-time music, and he shows it not only through his original written material, but by giving each individual song a unique mountain sound.