The Joy Project

The Joy Project: Trip to Style City

In 1976, Keith Duffy, aka The Joy Project, took a two-week road trip from Miami to Phoenix. Chain-smoking wine-tipped cigars, gobbling junk food, listening to The Hues Corporation on 8-track, his whip was a state-of-the-art, purple metal flake GTO.  He was 11 years old.

"My brothers and I were once again being forcibly dragged to another town," says Duffy. "It was a fragmented childhood driven by a sometimes violent, mostly sociopathic, gun-toting father who got itchy if he stayed in one place too long. I attended six high schools, no lie."

Other than mile markers, the only constant was the dashboard radio crackling with sugary disco-pop everywhere they drove:  "Don't Rock the Boat", "You Don't Have to Be A Star", "Philadelphia Freedom", "The Hustle", and "Boogie Nights". His only permanent possession was his prized 8-track collection of David Bowie classics always in tow.

"The dislocation continued for years. It's all a big blur, moving from state to state, living in motels for months, missing large gaps of school time. Thankfully kids are adaptable; relocating so often made me feel sick, but I nevertheless got excited when dad would unroll the map to plot our next move. It meant I would be doing a lot of listening to the radio." All that listening to music eventually led to making music.

Fast-forward almost 30 years. In addition to making records, Duffy now holds his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition and is an Assistant Professor of Humanities and Writing at The Pennsylvania State University. Part of his professional research agenda includes examining the practical and theoretical intersections of academic writing and musical composition. In his interdisciplinary writing classes, he requires students to explore self-expression in multiple mediums, namely writing and music. He has published numerous pedagogical articles in academic journals on this topic.

"Because of the fragmentation I experienced as a kid, the odds were against my life turning out like it has. But these early, endless road trips were fundamental to my development as a scholar and artist. The songs on Trip to Style City are fractured memories of driving through toll booths, sleeping at rest stops, eating garbage food, and sneaking half-smoked wine-tipped cigars from the dashboard ashtray. In my faulty memory, the Andrea True Connection is forever cooing, 'More, more, more....'"