Jamestown Revival is Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance and they have recently released their first full length album, Utah. Which is fitting as the album was recorded over a two week period in a cabin within the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jonathan over the phone as they embark on their first headlining tour. While there may be a few firsts here these two gentlemen have playing songs since they were teenagers. They met when they were 14 in their hometown of Magnolia, Texas just outside of Houston. They wrote their first song together when they were 15. They pursued solo careers but soon realized why don’t we just play together? And, Jamestown Revival was born.
At 6,000 feet up in the air, in a cabin, and in Utah they grabbed a bunch of microphones, a 16 track analog board, an engineer, a bassist and a drummer and rehearsed the songs then tracked them over a one week period. All the songs were recorded live to tape, and with that rawness Utah blends mellow harmonies over driving instrumentation. The album opens with Fur Coat Blues a song that says “I’ve got a very troubled mind,” and this whole musical journey can be scary and exciting at the same time. The next song “California (Cast Iron Soul)”, is a song about missing home and the possibility of coming back. From here the album goes into some folky tunes and then hits you with a straight blues song Wandering Man, a driving beat behind the drums and some steel guitar work that drives the driving home.
With this album they are reviving and bringing together many different influences, and it blends really well behind a couple of songwriter’s in Jonathan and Zach who are simply sharing their experiences. Through these eleven songs you embark on a journey with a couple of guys who are scared and excited about what the future will bring. The closing song Home could mean anywhere for them, as the song with its raw feel eloquently describes. Missing home and going out on your first headlining tour can surely be scary and exciting for anyone. So for the up and coming fellow musician I asked Jonathan if he could give some advice and I found his answer fitting he said “The difference between making it and not, don’t stop. You’ll find a way to make things happen. It will just take Insane persistence.” With this album finally recorded and heading out on tour the “insane persistence” is paying off, but they won’t stop now.
Jamestown Revival has found their way and they simply want to share their music with anyone that will listen. They have gained some recognition in this way from playing late shows hosted by Conan O’Brien and Craig Ferguson (Craig Ferguson twice) and from Jonathan I was told “It didn’t feel real. We were sort of like are they sure they got the right guy(s).”
From being taught how to play by his father, whom is his biggest musical influence, and to now playing with his friend Zach the exciting trepidation was humbling to hear. I asked Jonathan of all things to do why music? He said funny yet serious “You, don’t choose it. This is not a career. This is what I wanted to do. It’s a risky way to make a way, and a rational person wouldn’t choose to do this.” I believe he is right. There are certainly more risks, but with that “insane persistence” there is no telling where you can go with music, or any “dream.”
So, what’s next for Jamestown Revival? Writing new songs, a couple more tours throughout the summer and into the fall, then hoping to begin recording the next album. They are making their way. Carving out their niche, and music has a funny way of choosing you and I’d like to believe that these fellas are simply paying it forward.
Jonathan and Zach are two singer songwriters putting their stamp on this musical life. Cincinnati will have the pleasure of hosting them on the 17th of June at the 20th Century Theatre. Do yourselves a favor and spend the evening with these fellas if you are simply looking for a good old fashioned fun time.
Enter to win tics to the show HERE!