Joe Firstman bought an $18 cross-country Greyhound ticket from his home in North Carolina to Los Angeles, arriving with a beat-up guitar and head full of songs. He quickly found the big stage. It all happened quickly: first came the big Hollywood gigs, then the industry buzz, then the big deal with Atlantic Records and national tours with big rock stars like Sheryl Crow, Jewel, and Willie Nelson, then the national TV gig. There was ego and excess and beautiful ladies and music, music, music. Firstman wrote it all down and sang his songs like his life depended on it.

"In the songs of Joe Firstman, sensitive young men prowl the hills of Los Angeles, searching for fame and beauty, only to find self-destructive behavior and egos gone wild…” wrote Jim Farber in the New York Daily News. “While Hollywood's peaks and pitfalls have been prominently charted by songwriters from Don Henley, Stevie Nicks and Jackson Browne to Warren Zevon, Firstman aims to reinvent the milieu for his own generation."

In 2009, Firstman’s full-time, four-year job as bandleader on Last Call with Carson Daly ended and Firstman shifted his focus to his independent musical pursuits. Firstman released his 3rd studio album El Porto in 2010 and another LP, Swear It Was A Dream in 2011. As Firstman was wrapping up Swear It Was A Dream in Nashville, he formed a new band dubbed “Cordovas.” Their debut, self-titled, album features all new songs written and produced by Firstman. Cordovas released their second LP, Love Bravely, in 2014 followed by the Prison Guards EP in 2015.