I Met A Living Legend | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Many out of the ordinary people have characterized my month of November this year. I have seen galleries of a few ascending artists all expressing themselves through an interesting painting language. I have met Nico Cirasola an Italian filmmaker whose dry story telling style is making his voice heard across Oceans. I attended the performance of The Interpreti Veneziani with their Baroque music at Le Petit Trianon and met the artists personally after the show reception. To talk to the artists is an impossible task when they perform in Italy. I spoke at the Rotary Club and met some marvelous people; some of my friends are helping schools planning for a better nutrition for their kids. These are extraordinary people who make a mark in the society and leave a sweet legacy, but I never would have imagined meeting a living legend, an Italian emigrant who made his fame playing country western music. He is the only Italian in this genre. I met him at the Capital Club in San Jose, CA when the delegation of the Patrons of Italian Culture from Los Angeles came to visit our organization the Italian American Heritage Foundation in the Silicon Valley.

The legend Giuseppe Quartuccio aka Shorty Joe, that evening received a lifetime achievement award from the Italian American Heritage Foundation for his contributions to the South Bay Musical scene in Country and Western Music.

The story of his beginning in the country western music was so fascinated that I decided to pull up a chair and sit with him at the table with his friends and wives. I let him carry me through times so far away from my age, places and famous people I had never heard until that night. Country western music is not known in Italy, it was mesmerizing to know that an Italian emigrant, coming from the land of “Bel Canto” had fallen in love with such a very regional American music and even made a famous name for himself.

The story goes that he was born in 1924 Monreale Sicily and immigrated to New York with his parents as a boy and slowly moved to the West Coast.

His parents worked as farm laborers and cannery workers. One-day Giuseppe’s father told the kids that if they would help him crack walnuts and almonds after work, he would save enough money to buy a radio set and so it happened. Giuseppe was 12 when he could finally hear his first piece of music on the radio set, but it just happened to be a country western music.  Young Giuseppe fell in love with that type of music and in that moment he decided his career, as an adult, would have been to play country western music, despite the fact he didn’t even know how to play one single note on the guitar, or any other musical instruments.


He created his first country western trio band called the “cowboy band”. Shorty Joe’s idol Dude Martin  and his music influenced him in the typical style of a country music from West Coast. After WWII the band grew in size and became an octet made of all Italian-American guys, called the “Red Rock Canyon Cowboys”. From then on the band recorded under the Bella and Golden West labels.


Shorty Joe and his music has accompanied famous singers in the world of country music as Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Tex Williams, Lefty Frizzel, Roy Acuff and almost every other Grand O’l Opry singer of 1940’s and 1950’s.

I learned that his band’s records are housed at the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina and they are now collectible items.
He donated his complete costume along with his original 79 rpm records, LP album and all of his printed materials to the San Jose Historical Museum where they remain on permanent display as a pioneer of Santa Clara County.

Shorty Joe, a delightful seasoned man, with pudgy face and square glasses, always smiling has been married to his wife Jennie Valenti for 65 years. What is your secret,  I asked? I didn’t get an answer, his wife shrugged her shoulders.

The evening was very pleasurable. I met, among many notables, Louise Canepa, the composer of Sicilians in Monterey  music CD and many of Shorty Joe’s friends too.

This, among many of my Italian people’s stories, is another successful story of lives of immigrants overcoming difficulties to realize their dreams. I cannot be any more proud of this Italian culture that has thought us to never give up and be the best in everything we do. Ciao,

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val WorkingValentina Cirasola is a trained Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990. Being Italian born and raised, Valentina’s design work has been influenced by Classicism and stylish, timeless designs.  She is a designer well-known to bring originality to people’s homes. As an Italian designer and true to her origins, she provides only the best workmanship and design solutions.
She is a guest writer with her column “The Good Life” on ThePMShow:

She is also the author of two published Italian regional cuisine books, available on this site on the Books page  and in various locations: 

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


"La flamme des cuisines."

Teagan's Books

Now available: "Three Things Serial, a Little 1920s Story"


Any old world uncovered by new writing

The Love of History

Another site/blog for loving history

La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin

Life is too short to drink bad wine

Badfish and Chips Cafe

Travel photos, memoirs & letters home...from anywhere in the world


a journey of discovery with my camera...


Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure

Chasing Destino

I'll be outside of the mosh pit . . . waiting with bandaids and kleenex . . . I can also work magic with an ace bandage. Just sayin' . . .

this man's journey

Each journey has a story to tell. Each story has the possibility to bring about change, hope, joy, comfort, healing.

LEANNE COLE Photography

Fine Art Photographer ~ Daring to be Different

Through Harold's Lens

Harold Green Photography

HarsH ReaLiTy

A Good Blog is Hard to Find

The Punchy Lands!

Embrace Your PUNCHY Nature

In Bruttium

Uncovering Calabria & The Mezzogiorno, One Toe At A Time. | By Adam Underhill

Design Secrets

fulfill your craving for a beautiful home

Decorating by Donna • Color Expert

A Virtual Color Expert who is highly specialized in designing color for your home.

Green Door Hospitality

Adventures in Everyday Entertaining


These letters are written to remind you just how much you matter, just how important you are, and just how beautiful the gift of life as a human is.


Tanaman, Alam Semulajadi Dan Yang Berkaitan

Architecture, Design & Innovation

Construction Industry News & Views

Critique Collective

Critique Collective is your source for information and interviews about emerging and established contemporary artists.

The Dragon Blog

Fantasy Author Raani York's voice

Oh, the Places We See . . .

Honey, grab the GPS.

Zeebra Designs & Destinations

An Artist's Eyes Never Rest


amy begun saab ~life as i see it. a Vermonter deeply entrenched in Alabama dirt...so i planted flowers.

I see beauty all around by rob paine

Pro Photographer Rob Paine's (of DeepCreekImages.com) stories behind his photos along with helpful photo tips

%d bloggers like this: