Joel Schwartz is a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist from Toronto, and a unique voice in the Canadian and American music scenes.

As an in-demand freelance musician, Joel has toured and recorded with a diverse range artists throughout Canada, United States, the Middle East, and Europe. Recent credits include Birds of Chicago, Amelia Curran, Matt and Jill Barber, Great Lake Swimmers, Royal Wood, Jessica Mitchell, The Lovelocks, Kate Rogers, Andrea Koziol, Aviva Chernick, Jadea Kelly, and many others.

Joel’s contributions on guitars, mandolins, slide, and banjo can be heard on several film and television scores by Ari Posner, Amin Bhatia Rob Carli, Stacey Hersch, Jim McGrath, and Charlie Finlay.

Original projects and collaborations include:

Love Scene, a multimedia project that performs improvised songs and soundscapes to projections of old black and white films

Tarbelle, a soulful, gritty, and powerful duo with vocalist Andrea Koziol

Fafard and Schwartz, a guitar focused roots and blues duo with Joel Fafard (Borrowed Horses, 2014)

Aviva, an ethereal and contemplative re-imagining of Jewish folkloric and Ladino music (“When I arrived you were already there”, 2013)

Zebrina, Jon Feldman’s original instrumental project, featuring avant-garde clarinetist Ben Goldberg, released on Tzadik, (“Hamidbar Medaber”, 2014)

The Outlanders, Joel’s first original instrumental project (“…and this is how his story goes…”, 2008).



“…beautiful and intelligent ethereal twang. The melodies are, in every sense of the word, haunting.” -Paul Quarrington

“Think country gentleman guitar-slinger hanging out in Chicago to mend a broken heart.” -Rosemary Phelan

“…aching steel guitar creating an overwhelming moment of cosmic beauty and transcendence.” – Henry Carrigan, No Depression (May, 2018, “Love in Wartime” Review)

…”Dekker started the intro to “On the Water” and the band slowly started to trickle on stage. The song featured multi-instrumentalist Joel Schwartz playing some incredible resonator guitar. I really felt the bands chemistry during this song and it was my highlight of the evening. “Cornflower Blue” followed up and saw Schwartz steal the spotlight with beautiful mandolin work.” -Jimmy Coulas, Scents and Subtle Sounds, Live Review of Great Lake Swimmers in Chicago May 2nd, 2012

Gear I love