Jay Nash's defining musical moment came at age 12, after hearing a 90-minute
Maxell tape with the 1971 Grateful Dead Live album on one side and Cat
Stevens¹ Greatest Hits on the other. To steal a line: What a long, strange
trip it's been and it's brought him where he is today.
Jay grew up in the small town of Manlius, outside Syracuse in upstate New
York, spending his summers in the idyllic Thousand Islands region on the St.
Lawrence River near the U.S.-Canadian border. Listening to that
double-sided Grateful Dead/Cat Stevens cassette "shook something loose in
me. I felt a connection to something I¹d never felt before."
Picking up the guitar, he eventually discovered Dylan ("I was blown away by
his imagery, his use of metaphor and allusions It actually scared me away
from even trying to write songs"), then discovered his talent singing the
high parts with a friend on Cat Stevens¹ "Father and Son" at a school talent
show before an audience of 1,500.
"There was something kind of magical and amazing about it," he says of the
experience performing live. "It wasn¹t about me, but having all these people
in the same place feeling the same things forgetting about everything else
for that moment."
Attending SUNY Binghamton and then University of Vermont, Nash played in a
variety of bands, then as a solo act around the ski lodges of Vermont,
working packed audiences into a frenzy with medleys that went from
"Tennessee Jed" into "Johnny B. Goode," "Feeling Alright" and "Tangled Up In
After graduation, Nash got into his Honda Civic and drove to New York City,
where he began to write songs in earnest, recording a six-song EP, playing
some live gigs and experiencing "lots of silly adventures born of naivete
and youthful stupidity."
By 2001, he had moved to Los Angeles, where he began to pursue a musical
career in earnest. He established a residency at Bar F2, which eventually
became Room 5, an intimate venue located above an Italian restaurant on
LaBrea Avenue, where he went on to not only play, but also book such
soon-to-be major label artists as Colbie Caillat, Sara Bareilles,
OneRepublic and Tyrone Wells, then began a touring schedule that included up
to 200 dates a year.
Along the way, Nash developed a following, putting out a series of indie
releases on his own, including 'Open Late ('2002), the full-length effort he
started three days before 9/11 and ended up selling 2,000 copies through
gigs and CD Baby; 'Nine', a 2004 compilation of demos; the autobiographical
A Stream 'Up North', one of two companion albums he recorded in Thousand
Islands with Joe Purdy; 'The North LaBrea All-Star Conquistadors,' a CD
inspired by the celebrated weekly Monday night shows at Room 5 that also
included fellow singer-songwriters Garrison Starr and Gabriel Mann; and his
most recent release, 'Some Kind of Comfort'. When the shows at Room 5
started attracting media interest and more crowds, Nash moved over to the
larger Hotel Cafe, which spawned its own musical community.
His upcoming release, 'The Things You Think You Need', is the latest chapter
in Jay Nash¹s ongoing saga, but in reality, it¹s the start of the story, not
the end. The album, produced by Chris Seefried and recorded at Phantom Vox
Studios in Hollywood, CA during October and November of 2007, shows a vastly
more mature side to Jay Nash, both sonically and lyrically. All of Jay¹s
influences are apparent on the album, from the Springsteen-like "Hard
Lesson² to the mellow James Taylor/Dylan and the Band vibe of "Sweet Talkin'
Liar," from the Cat Stevens-inspired narrative of "Wayfarer" to the "Tangled
Up In Blue" storytelling of "Over You," the Jackson Browne politics,
spaghetti western guitar and huge drum sound of "All the Same," the
Wilco-reminiscent fusion of "Keep on Talkin¹," the country-rock anthem
"Easy" and the Americana music hall honky-tonk of ³Forgive Me.² Nash¹s vocal
style is comfortable and familiar, but polished and all his own, like a new
pair of shoes that fit just right.
The album includes guest appearances by some of Nash's close musical
friends, including Epic recording artist Sara Bareilles (on "Barcelona") and
David Immergluck and Charlie Gillingham from the Counting Crows. 'The
Things You Think You Need 'will be released digitally on May 20, 2008.