James Joseph Paulsen (born September 25, 1943, Rochester, Minnesota) is an American country music singer, songwriter of Danish descent, known professionally as Joe Sun. Recording for the Ovation and Elektra Records labels, Sun charted fourteen singles on the Hot Country Songs charts. His highest was his 1978 debut single, the #14 "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You."
He spent his youth in college and then in the Air Force. He did various jobs, such as working as a DJ at Radio WMAD in Madison, Wisconsin and at a Key West, Florida rock station and he spent two years with a computer firm in Chicago. While in Madison, he sang with a variety of semi-pro bands, working under the name "Jack Daniels". He acquired his style listening to southern music on country's 50,000 watt WSM and rhythm and blue's WLAC radio.
In 1972, he made his way to Nashville, giving himself five years to "make it" as a musician. For a time, he ran a small graphics business called The Sun Shop, then took up independent record promotions, which led to signing with the Ovation record label towards the end of 1977.
Joe Sun made a debut of his first single on Ovation Records "Old Flames (Can't Hold A Candle To You)" which was released in May 1978 and climbed steadily up the country charts, reaching the Top 20. Further hits followed on Ovation Records with "High And Dry" (1978), "On Business For The King" (1979), "Blue Ribbon Blues" (1979), "Out Of Your Mind" (1979/1980), "What I Had With You" (1980), "Shotgun Rider" (1980), "Bombed, Boozed, And Busted" (1980), and "Ready For the Times to Get Better" (1980), an innovative re-make of Crystal Gayle's 1978 #1 hit. By the time his third album, Livin' On Honky Tonk Time was released, the record company Ovation closed down. Joe signed with Elektra, who purchased Ovation in 1981. At that time he recorded "I Ain't Honky Tonkin' No More". The album Best of Joe Sun was released by Elektra.
Joe recorded "The Sun Never Sets" for Sonet in 1984, followed by "Twilight Zone" with Dixiefrog in 1986 and "Hank Bogart Still Lives" with Dixiefrog in 1989. This album was outsold in France only by Randy Travis. In 1991, Dixiefrog released "Out on the Road", after Sun's five-month European tour.
Sun's first solo album effort, the 1992 "Dixie and Me", on Austria's Crazy Music made its debut. Its response prompted the 1994 CD release of Some Old Memories by the same record label.
An album and a video for Some Old Memories was released in 1994 by Crazy Music and was broadcast on SF1, a Swiss television station and 3SAT, a German/Austrian/Swiss television station.
Joe Sun released the Heartbreak Saloon CD in 1998 with Dixiefrog. He wrote twelve of the fifteen songs on the album.
Sun has released 15 albums and has given performances in the United States and Europe. He has also recorded national radio spots for Budweiser and Timberline Boots. Besides being featured on television shows, having produced two Grammy-nominated foreign LPs in 1989 and 1990, Joe Sun has also acted as Tommy Fratter in the motion picture Marie, A True Story alongside Sissy Spacek, Jeff Daniels and Morgan Freeman.