On his new album, "Fairfax Avenue," Roy Jay has found his groove, a gritty and bluesy groove that's simultaneously easy-going and laid back, perfectly reflecting the life of the man within. It's an album of self-assured focus, where Roy moves past various influences to become the artist he's always wanted to be.
Where Roy's debut, "Lucky Guy," had a softer acoustic feel, earning comparisons to Jimmy Buffett and Bob Dylan, "Fairfax Avenue" features a harder edged and driving sound that's perfect as a springboard for jamming, but is mercifully free of jam band noodling. Produced by Chris Seefried (Roseanne Cash, Quincy Jones, Fitz and Tantrums), Roy is clearly pleased with the results. He says, "'Fairfax Avenue' is much more the real me. My first album, 'Lucky Guy,' felt like it had sort of a split personality."
The split personality continued as Roy, based in Florida, was conceiving how to follow up "Lucky Guy." Roy's extensive acoustic based touring with artists such as the Gabe Dixon Band, Jay Nash, Tony Lucca, and Tyrone Wells had Roy considering what he wanted his sound to be, and led him to consider delaying the follow up. "I had just come off touring extensively," he recalls. "I wasn't quite sure what direction I wanted to go in musically – I was going to put recording the album on hold." But a trip to L.A. and a visit with his friend and fellow musician Tony Lucca set Roy on the right path. Roy remembers, "Tony was really simple and straight with me. He said that the only kind of music I can make is the music that reflects my life. So that's what we did."
The sound that reflects Roy's life is one of pure, but hard-earned pleasure and fun; of kicking off your shoes, cracking open a beverage, getting your ass out of your seat and boogieing. It's there in the infectious blues/rock mix of "Love Seed Mama Jump," portraying a life of carefree good times: "Tuesday's at the Rudder/Wednesday's for the hump/Thursday's in the Starboard/Friday's love seed mama jump." The horns sing joyously, the organ darts in and out and the background vocals are contagious, all of it carried by Roy's infectious vocals.
"Fatal Mistake," co-written with Tony Lucca and Chris Seefried, typifies the roots rock feel of the album. With its snarling guitar and low down feel, it conjures the image of the Femme Fatale at the heart of the song. And "Movin' On" tells the story of Roy's personal journey of musical discovery, becoming a musician after 20 years of putting his guitar down and working: "In my head there was a picture/Of a place that I should see/Not sittin on the side/Of who I wanna be."
"Fairfax Avenue" gets by with a little help from Roy's friends. The album features David Immergluck of the Counting Crows on guitar, and legendary bassist Rob Wasserman (Neil Young, Bob Weir, Lou Reed), who Roy met while in Jamaica. The quality of the playing shines through on every note, laying down the juke joint feel of Roy's vision. And the album's title is reflective of Roy finding a place to make a stand with his music. He says, "Fairfax Avenue isn't just where I recorded. It's where I grew up musically." "Movin' On" says it all: "So I parked my car/By a door painted blue/Above it read a sign/Fairfax Avenue/Maybe here's a place/Where I can sing and play/If everything is cool/I may decide to stay."
Roy has a nationwide tour on the schedule for Fall 2010 with the Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, and with Rock Ridge Music supporting "Fairfax Avenue," he's more excited than ever about reaching people with his music. He concludes, "My music is for people who come to a show to have fun and a great time – to sing, dance, party and shake their ass." "Fairfax Avenue" is the album to provide that great time, as Roy Jay has laid down that rootsy and bluesy groove to conjure with, sing along to and have the time of your life.