Jay Nash — A True Troubadour
By Carlos Roberto
At the outset of my career as a photographer, almost four year ago, I possessed a camera, enthusiasm, and a great love for music. Admittedly I lacked experience, which resulted in many disappointments and frustrations. However, I persevered and kept knocking on doors and tearing down walls. Then a sunny, blessed day came along when I met Jay Nash, the first star musician who took a chance on an unknown, untried, amateur photographer. He granted me access to many of his performances and then asked me to shoot the cover of his album, Crosby Skills & Nash — a four-song collaboration with Caitlin Crosby. The EP debuted at #6 on the Singer/Songwriter Chart on iTunes. And my photograph graced the cover.
I have Jay Nash to thank for that; I can only say I’m proud and happy to have this honor.
Prior to meeting Jay Nash, I encountered many egos in the music worlds, attitudes that told me to get lost. I believe actions like that will never get you far in life. I believe those who consistently treat others with respect win in the end. And I think that’s one of the reasons for Nash’s success. He’s kind, humble, and also happens to be a brilliant musician.
Jay grew up in Manlius, which is just outside of Syracuse in upstate New York. He spent inspiring summers in the picturesque Thousand Islands region near the US-Canadian border. He was also surrounded and supported by a musical family — his mother, a piano teacher, and his father, an avid rock ‘n’ roll fan.
Jay’s defining moment occurred at the age of 12 when came into possession of a cassette tape with a live Grateful Dead performance on one side and Cat Stevens’ Greatest Hits on the other. He adored that tape and played it to the point of breaking. The music on that tape led Jay to enter and win a talent contest where he sang Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son.”
“There was something kind of magical and amazing about it,” Jay says of the experience of performing live for an audience of 1,500.
Thanks to the gods for that cassette tape.
Other artists that Jay cites as early influences include Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, The Band, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Greg Brown, Martin Sexton, and gratefully, Jay never forgets to mention his musician friends including: Garrison Starr, Gabriel Mann, Joe Purdy, Jim Bianco, Brian Wright, Rob Giles, Sara Bareilles, and Laura Jansen, among others.
Jay attended Binghamton and then the University of Vermont, where he played in a variety of bands before branching out as a solo act. He played gigs around the ski lodges of Vermont, working packed audiences into frenzy with medleys that went from “Tennessee Jed” into “Johnny B. Goode,” “Feeling Alright,” and “Tangled Up In Blue.” After graduation, Jay drove straight to New York City, where he began writing songs, recording, and playing live gigs.
In 2001, Jay brought his music to Los Angeles, where he began to pursue a musical career in earnest. He emerged into the national spotlight from LA’s legendary Hotel Cafe music scene — the same venue that gave rise to Sara Bareilles, Katy Perry, and many other current pop luminaries. Jay has shared the stage with Sara, Katy, Counting Crows, Maroon 5, Keb’ Mo’, Dave Mason, and many others.
There are a series of independent releases including Open Late (2002), Nine (2004), the autobiographical A Stream Up North (2004), The North LaBrea All-Star Conquistadors (2005), Some Kind of Comfort (2005), Over You (2007), The Things You Think You Need (2008), and All the Stars in Copenhagen (2009).
His current album, Diamonds and Blood, was recorded at Phantom Vox Studios in Los Angeles.
“All in all,” Nash says, “I recorded with an all-star dream band.” Musicians on the record include David Immergluck (guitars, mandolin, lap steel) and Charlie Gillingham (piano, B3 organ) of Counting Crows. Don Heffington (Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams) and Jamie Wollam (Jackson Browne) shared the drums and percussion duties. Chris Joyner (Ray LaMontagne, Rickie Lee Jones) played keys. Rob Wasserman (Ratdog, Bob Weir) plays bass. Chris Seefried produced, and two-time-Grammy-winner, Seth Atkins Horan, engineered.
Jay Nash makes music that is intelligent, warm, soulful, and energetic, a little bit country, and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. His striking voice is addictive.
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