The Blue Note & Rose Blog


1 Comment

Local Artist Spotlight: Blue Jay

It started at a pizza place.

Josh Deal, then the 18-year-old manager at Coach’s Pizza World in Mexico, Missouri, befriended a co-worker. Bradley Hutchinson was 14 at the time and didn’t know how to play the guitar. Josh did. What followed was a guitar lesson and friendship that would eventually result in the formation of folk-pop band, Blue Jay.

When The Havana Honeys, a folk band that Deal played banjo and sang in, were in need of a bass player, they brought Hutchinson in to fill the role. It was the first band Hutchinson had been part of that wrote and played their own music.

After The Havana Honeys split, Deal and Hutchinson remained as co-workers at a local sub shop. After finding a common love for The Avett Brothers and The Beatles, they decided to try and make music as a duo — but found little success.

“We tried at one point to do the whole guitar and banjo thing, and it was awful. It just didn’t work out,” Hutchinson said.

That all changed when Deal heard “You”, a song that Hutchinson had written. Deal decided then that they should pursue the project now known as Blue Jay. The two sat down and reworked the structure of the song to fit the mold of what they wanted from their band. “You” served as the rebirth of a project that Deal thought was history.

“It just seemed like something clicked that time around,” Deal said.

The duo’s one-year anniversary is quickly approaching, and Blue Jay is aiming to release their debut album in early 2018. The band released their second single from the upcoming record on Friday.

“It’s a song about being in love with someone for quite some time, and being able to look back at all the chapters of the relationship that you have been through together. Being thankful for every passing moment and not wanting to ever see any of that go away,” Deal said.

The album will be produced by Kevin Gates, a local producer out of Springfield. Gates has also worked with one of Hutchinson’s biggest influences — Joplin-based band Never Shout Never.

“My buddy told me he produced their album and then showed me one of their recordings, and it was so good that I couldn’t justify not recording with him,” Hutchinson said.

For Hutchinson, it turned out to be the perfect artist-producer relationship.

“Kevin knows exactly what he’s doing with each song. It just hits him and he goes – nonstop,” Hutchinson said.

One track on the record that sticks out for both Hutchinson and Deal is “North Carolina”.

“At our live shows, I like it to be the second to last song. My favorite part of the night is connecting with the people in the audience. I try to get people nice and close with that song, because I want them to listen to the words. It has a good meaning and there’s something that people can learn from it, especially when you’re young and going out a lot,” Hutchinson said.

The first priority for Blue Jay is to finish writing and recording the album. The second is to eventually distribute the record in physical form with a full package of artwork and lyric sheets.

“I would really like to print this album on vinyl. I want to have a really artistic album – like holding a piece of art in your hands,” Hutchinson said.

Follow Blue Jay on Twitter and like them on Facebook for the latest news on the upcoming album! 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Q&A: El Ten Eleven’s Kristian Dunn

Los Angeles based post-rock duo El Ten Eleven is coming out to Rose Music Hall on Thursday, September 28. The band came together in 2002 and have been crafting captivating melodies ever since. Although they are primarily known as an instrumental act, their latest release, Unusable Love, features vocals from Emile Mosseri of The Dig. I interviewed bassist/guitarist Kristian Dunn about tour life and their recent collaboration with Mosseri.

Tickets for the show are $12 in advance and $15 day of show. Doors open at 7 p.m. and show starts at 8 p.m. Be sure to get there early to grab a beer and see supporting act Sego.

How’s the tour going so far?

Fantastic. This is a smaller market tour so the shows are smaller than when we play NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, etc. But our fans are passionate and smart and that’s always a pleasure for us to experience.

After 15 years of instrumental music, what inspired you guys to incorporate vocals in your latest project Unusable Love?

We’ve actually wanted to have guest vocals for years, but nobody seemed to want to do it! It was really surprising to us how many people would express interest and then flake.

What was working with Emile Mosseri like? How did the creative process for Unusable Love compare to previous albums?

It was so great working with him. We were really on the same page 90 percent of the time. I loved almost all of his suggestions, not to mention his lyrics and melodies!

Can listeners expect more collaborations with Mosseri or other vocalists in the future?

Absolutely. We’ve got almost half a dozen different people lined up. Who knows how many of them will make it to the finish line, but we make an effort with everyone.


Leave a comment

Q&A: The Districts’ Rob Grote

The-Districts

The Philadelphia-born rock band known as The Districts are gearing up to play at Rose Music Hall on Sunday, April 23 and they’ll be bringing some serious talent with them. The four-piece band, which formed in high school, are constantly evolving. Their sound is hard to place but if you like rock-and-roll, and the likes of Houndmouth, Dr. Dog, Twin Peaks or Heartless Bastards, you need to check out The Districts. I interviewed singer and guitarist, Rob Grote, about how the tour has been going, what the band has been up to and the new music they’re working on.

Tickets for the show are $12 in advance and $15 day of show. Doors are at 7 p.m. so get there early and get a beer during Logboat’s tap takeover and get a spot in the front row to see Abi Reimold and Things On TV kick things off. P.S. Beer tastes better in the front row.

How’s the tour going?

We toured a lot for the last album and we’ve been taking some time off for a while to work on new music. It’s been really cool to get back out there and play shows again and we’re feeling good. We’re trying out a bunch of new songs which has been fun and the response to those seems to be going pretty well.

I saw that you guys just released “Ordinary Day.” Where are you in the process of making new music?

We have a whole album recorded. We spent the last year just working really hard. We wrote a ton of new music, only a portion of which is actually on the album. I’d say most of the year was spent recording and writing stuff so it was really fun. I think we twist ourselves and challenge ourselves to make things new and different to us.

How would you describe the new album? How is it different than music the band has put out before?

There’s definitely some differences, like just lyrically and musically, we went at it with a lot of ideas of using restraint. We wanted to approach a lot of the new stuff by trying to use different techniques to accomplish some of the things like cathartic feelings that we’ve done in the past by having like a loud moment, so restraint was a big idea with that.

Also lyrically, trying to do a “less is more” type of thing at times; just challenging ourselves to look at things differently and not necessarily make things the way our first instinct would be to make them. It definitely still sounds like The Districts. It’s just more of a fully realized kind of idea that we had been shooting for in our sound before. I think we’ve hit the mark on it a little more this time.

What’s the songwriting process like for you guys?

The process varies a little bit…I’ll usually come up with a pretty bare bones idea for a song and make a demo in my room, which will be usually acoustic guitar and maybe a keyboard or another guitar track here and there; like a pretty stripped down unfinished version.

Sometimes it’ll only have one verse written and the chorus, or something like that. From that demo we’ll usually try to work on some stuff, and together we kind of flesh it out and make it into a more completed image of it. We usually record another demo then. It’s usually gone through a bunch of ringers, so to speak, to kind of squeeze out everything we want to get out of it so that by the time we’re in the studio, we’ve all kind of had our say; we’ve all contributed collectively a bunch of ideas and turned it into a Districts song.

Who were your influences for the album, and as who has influenced you as a band?

We all listen to a lot of different types of music so it’s hard to say. For the album itself, there wasn’t a particular influence. We could go from something like old music, like I really like old singer songwriters like Lee Hays and Leonard Cohen, and I also really like dancey music from Africa or something. We all listen to a bunch of different kinds of stuff so it kind of just seeps in in it’s own way.