For five years, Jason fronted the New York-based rock band Waking Up East resulting in two LPs and several tours across the USA. After a brief break and a move to Music City, he has released his debut solo record, “The Art of Letting Go,” a poignantly personal seven-song EP that commands an attentive listen. Jason’s musical journey kicks off with the stark “Nebraska” feel of “Talking to Chairs” and closes with the jangly optimistic country-rock chords of “Some Kind of Way.”
While Nashville seemingly sees more new Americana faces these days than it does bachelorettes riding pedal taverns, Jason’s music stands out. This young man has a gift for transferring his life experiences into songs that’ll grab your ear and hit you in your gut.
Thanks Jason for tackling 11 Questions from a fellow pizza-loving New Jerseyan. Jason will be playing at The 5 Spot on November 21 and then again on December 18 as a part of Derek Hoke’s $2 Tuesdays.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I am originally from Dumont, New Jersey. It’s a one-square mile town just outside of Manhattan. I moved here from NYC a little under three years ago. It was my wife’s idea to move here, actually. I took a break with music and got a “real” job while we lived in New York. My wife could see I was unhappy and pitched the idea to move to Nashville. A few months later we packed up our 400-square-foot apartment and haven’t looked back.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
The first CD I can remember owning is the D2: The Mighty Ducks soundtrack. The soundtrack was filled with masterpieces like Queen’s “We are the Champions” and “Whoomp! (There It Is)” by Tag Team. It was a quality record. LOL! The most recent record that I have purchased is David Ramirez’s We’re Not Going Anywhere. He is great.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
The first concert that I went to was The Mighty Mighty Bosstones in Asbury Park, NJ. It was a great punk/ska show in the early 2000s. The last concert that I saw was Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Zakir Hussain with the Nashville Symphony. It was incredible!!! It’s funny how time refines your ears.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
John Prine, for what he has done for the Folk/Americana scene here.
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
Sip Café in Inglewood, all the way! Best coffee shop in Nashville! The best pizza here in Nashville (and take it from me, I moved here from NYC) is Five Points Pizza or NY Pie. They both make a great pie and are the closest thing to NYC pizza that you can get here.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
That’s a toss-up for me. I was going to say Blonde on Blonde by Dylan, but I think old Neil has him beat in my book with Harvest.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Dee’s in Madison has pretty great tacos.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Well, I do play with a lot of local people, but for a round I would pick my friends John Dennis, Josh Gray, and Brian Milligram.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
I love playing City Winery. They have a great sounding room and really know how to treat musicians there. The 5 Spot is one of my favorites, consistent sound and great vibe from the room and the crowd. Last but not least, Kimbro’s in Franklin, TN, has a great scene going on there. What a fun and energetic room to play.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon, but only if they were my neighbors, and I met a guy named Julio that I could introduce Paul to by a schoolyard. Bruce would just watch from his screened-in porch thinking about his glory days and how they passed him by. One can dream, one can dream.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Well, I just put out my debut record, so planning a lot of gigs/touring in the New Year. I will be recording and releasing a second record sometime in 2019. It’s going to be a busy year, got a lot planned and a lot to hope for.