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article imageInterview with Jason Eady Special

By Adrian Peel     Feb 13, 2014 in Entertainment
The Texas Country star has deservedly received a great deal of praise for his latest long-playing effort. Digital Journal spoke to him.
Texas-dwelling Mississippian, Jason Eady, has been making records and taking his show on the road now for the best part of 10 years. Last month, the uncompromising thirty-something released Daylight & Dark, an inspired masterpiece that saw him bridge the gap between traditional country and the modern Texas Country groove.
The 11-track album, featuring collaborations with the likes of Courtney Patton and Hayes Carll, was, like its predecessor (2012's AM Country Heaven), produced by seasoned singer-songwriter, Kevin Welch. As was also the case with AM Country Heaven, Daylight & Dark leans much more towards traditional country than the artist's early flirtation with Americana, of the type heard on his debut LP, From Underneath the Old, in 2005.
Speaking to me from his home in Fort Worth, the musician who views mainstream country as a "whole other genre," filled me in on his movements, professionally speaking. "Really, we're just out promoting the album right now — that's the number one thing. It's only been out about three weeks, so we're still doing the CD release shows and trying to get as many people as we can to hear it...
"We've been through Missouri and the Midwest and all over Texas, and in the next couple of months, we're gonna spend a lot of time on the west coast, California and that area - just trying to get it out there."
Have the positive reviews of album number six taken the brutally honest storyteller, engaged to the above-mentioned Courtney Patton and proud of his grassroots, word-of-mouth following, by surprise?
"I love it," he replies, referring to the record. "it's my favourite thing I've done so far. But yes, it was unexpected... It's funny, the more I quit trying to do things that I think people want to hear, the more they seem to want to hear them!
"This one's more me. The reason I love it more than any of the others is because it's truly me just kinda letting go and saying: 'This is me, this what I do'. I've realised over the last couple of years that the more you do that, the more people seem to respond to it."
I read that the record, full of believable and easy-to-relate-to tales of life and love, is semi-autobiographical and brought this up with Jason.
"For sure it is... The title track was the first song that I wrote for the album. I was trying to write songs that didn't really pick a side. It's a temptation when you start writing to write a happy song, to write a sad song, or a song about doing better or a song about doing worse.
"I wanted to spend some time writing songs that walk that line between all of those... The guy can be happy in the morning and sad at night, which is more the way real life works. The idea was to try to capture that.
"Starting with 'Daylight & Dark,' I tried to carry that through writing everything else - that idea of finding that middle ground. It was definitely autobiographical. Not a hundred percent, but I tend to write about the last thing I went through, as opposed to what I'm going through at the time."
Which of the other tunes is Eady especially proud of? "'Lonesome Down and Out' is a big one for me... Some of them you just fall in love with as you're writing them and that was definitely one of those. I love everything about it. I love the way it was written, I love the way the production came out. Everything about it came out exactly right.
"Then there's another song on there, 'Whiskey & You', that I did not write. I heard the song and I loved the original writer's version of it. It always had a certain imagery to me and a real lonesome guy-sitting-in-his-room-by-himself kind of vibe.
"It's been cut a few times and it seems like nobody's ever given it that treatment. I wanted to give it what I get in my head when I hear that song. It was a big honour for me to get to record it."
Who would Jason like to write or perform with on future projects? "As far as writing, I would love to write with the guy that wrote 'Whiskey & You' - his name's Chris Stapleton. On the performing side, I would love to do something with the guys I grew up listening to. I kinda got to do that on my last record, with Patty Loveless. She sang a duet with me on the last album and that was pretty incredible.
"If I could do a duet with Don Williams or Merle Haggard, or any of the guys that I grew up listening to that are still around, I'd love to do that."
"A little bit, yeah," he replies, to the question of whether he listened to '90s country back in the day. "I was probably 16, 17 when that thing was its peak, so I listened to a lot of it.
"I still listen to a ton of it. Mark Chesnutt, Hal Ketchum, Alan Jackson.... I'm a huge Alan Jackson fan and would love to do something with him someday, write, perform — anything. He's the one that I've really followed ever since that '90s country movement. He still has great records."
After a certain amount of experimentation early on in his career, Jason Eady has perhaps found his "niche" — and best demonstrated his talent both as a singer and a songwriter — on his three most recent albums (When The Money's All Gone from 2009, also produced by Kevin Welch, preceded AM Country Heaven) and I wondered whether he would consider Daylight & Dark to be noticeably different in any way from anything he's put out before?
"It's definitely more mellow," he muses. "That's the number one thing I would say about it, and it was the thing that I was hoping people would respond to... There's a big thing right now in music that nobody wants to hear slow songs anymore.
"You have to have these catchy, hooky, uptempo, energetic songs and if you're lucky, you can slip two or three ballads — songs with more meaning — in there. I've always tried to do that and I've always been aware of that, trying to get so many uptempo songs on the album.
"This time, I completely let that go because I started listening to a lot of old records that I grew up on. I realised some of those records were really mellow; there weren't many fast, high-energy songs on any of them and they're still records I listen to 30 years later.
"I just quit worrying about that and I think that's the biggest difference with this one. It's more naturally what I would do, as opposed to trying to put a couple of songs on there that aren't necessarily the type of songs I would write all the time..."
"I come from a very traditional country background and that's what I love," says Jason, in an attempt to try and define his overall sound, a sound that seems to be winning him a lot of new fans. "I love roots music in general. With any sort of music, I love more the roots form of it.
"But one of my fears is I don't want to turn into just being a retro act, where you're going back and trying to reproduce something that's already been done 30 years ago. I really hope that comes across, that you know that's where the music comes from, but it's still current and it's still me and it's creating something new."
Daylight & Dark is out now.
For more information, visit the artist's official website.
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