Texas-born soul man Joe Lewis grew up more interested in sports than music, never paying much mind to the soul music his father played around the house. At 19, Lewis took an interest in guitars after getting a job working in a pawn shop, and pushed his curiosity further by teaching himself to play. Encouraged by friends, Lewis soon played at various open-mic nights around Austin, belting out improvised lyrics as he went along, an unconventional method he still uses today. Lewis' raw talents as a soul singer and stage performer soon got him noticed, and in 2007 Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears released their self-titled debut album. A growing buzz surrounding their SXSW show provided a record deal with Lost Highway, and the release of Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is in 2009.