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Lazybirds leader Jay Brown returns to folk roots on new solo effort
(Published: May 04, 2012)

Singer/songwriter Jay Brown has been all over the world. The same can be said of his music as well.

On Brown's latest solo effort, The Jester, the leader of the renowned jazz act the Lazybirds reestablishes his folk roots without limiting himself to it. In other words, the intellectual curiosity that fueled his trips to Africa and India continues to percolate. Instead of producing a straightforward roots record Brown delves into psychedelia, country, and even political satire.

For Brown, it all began with another artist who, in his younger days, saw no boundaries between musical genres or even cultures. It was none other than the King of Rock & Roll himself. "Elvis Presley was my first love," Brown revealed. "Probably my peak experience of musical joy was dancing and jumping to ‘Jailhouse Rock' and ‘Hound Dog' as a little kid. A few years later I got into the Rolling Stones. I'd found a stack of records from the ‘60s and ‘70s down in my grandma's basement that had belonged to one of my six fun-loving aunts. The collection was mostly Stones, but also some early Frank Zappa and Cheech & Chong. I wore those records out even more than they already were. After that it was Jimi Hendrix that I couldn't get enough of. I never thought I would play like Hendrix, but he's the one who inspired me to get back into the guitar around age 13. In high school I got into Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Paul Simon, and John Prine - these were the artists I was listening to when I first started writing songs. Around this time I also discovered old blues, in a great old record store called Charlemagne Records in Birmingham. Lightnin' Hopkins and Muddy Waters were my first favorites. The old blues led me to old jazz."

Brown's exposure to vintage blues and jazz records was certainly pivotal, playing a huge role in the formation of the Lazybirds. According to Brown, the Lazybirds "began as friends who shared a love of really old and obscure American music, and a certain peculiar way of seeing the world." Brown's unique perspective, at times laced with slashing wit, is also the heart of The Jester. "There could be an idea I want to express, maybe I'm frustrated with some aspect of society, and then I end up writing some comical song that vents that frustration. Or there is something I want to say to someone, and I know that a song is the only way I can really get my message across," Brown explained. "Listening to great songs often inspires me to write. One thing I've noticed is that a song, at least to some degree, has to come to me. There's some little inward beckoning that I have to wait for patiently, and when it comes, I have to pay attention."

More Information: http://www.jaybrownmusic.com

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