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Jay Nash & Joey Ryan - 25 June 2010

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Jay Nash makes music that is warm, soulful, energetic, intelligent, just a little bit country, just a little bit rock. It is most certainly the kind of music you'd want to hear wafting from the speakers of your convertible, while driving down the Pacific Coast Highway on a warm summer Sunday afternoon. His release The Things You Think You Need — his seventh studio album - reached number 22 on the iTunes Rock Chart, just 48 hours after the release. An even more impressive accomplishment as he is the only completely independent artist on the chart, dominated as it is by major label acts.

"The album is truly superb. It is also a clear reflection of the artist himself; down-to-earth, playful, witty and occasionally profound, grounded but sentimental, sensual but intelligent, romantic but only in passing… The Things You Think You Need is definitely something you'll think you need after just one listen; and Jay Nash is doubtless an artist you will want to get better acquainted with… Nash's deep, gravelly vocals will remind you of the sadness of Hank Williams, the sensuality of Marvin Gaye, and the tenderness of an adoring lover."

An Interview with Jay, at the 2010 SXSW Festival: by Steve Sav.

With a rich, deep voice and a talent for writing compelling songs, Jay Nash lives and breathes the mantras of the independent musician -- a strong work ethic, genuine fan appreciation and support for fellow artists. At 33, Nash has a handful of LPs and EPs under his belt. His latest 2009 album 'TFDI' is a collaboration with Tony Luca and Matt Duke. Before rushing off to a writing session, the L.A.-based singer-songwriter found some time to taIk to Spinner about a return trip to SXSW.

You're working on some new material. Describe your sound at this moment in time.

It's a retrospective of a lot of American rock, folk and blues music. I hate describing it. It's so much easier to sing it! As an artist, I guess I should get a party line to describe myself.

Are you a people watcher? Are you inspired by observation?

Oh, absolutely! A good portion of my songs, especially from a few years ago, were reflections of people I interacted with on the road. When you're on the road, you spend time with whoever stumbles into your world or whatever world you stumble into.

There are a lot of amateur videos of your gigs on YouTube. That must be a double-edged sword.

It is a weird thing, man. I'm watching some clips from YouTube right now from someone in the audience at a gig I did last night. It does raise the stakes a bit. Some people will watch these over and over again. When you're playing, you never know: You might think you're playing a good show, but your audience may not think so. It is nice to go back to "the tapes" to see what went right and what went wrong. I just wish I could delete the ones that went wrong!

You're no stranger to SXSW. What changes that occurred over the years have you appreciated the most?

SXSW is a cross between band camp and Mardi Gras. I love it. It's amazing how SXSW manages everything. It's like a city that moves into town every year. If anything, I appreciate my own evolution in how I approach SXSW. The first couple of years you go down there, it's so overwhelming that you wear yourself out and wind up not seeing some things you wanted to see. Some pre-planning is advised. One of these days I'd just like to go as a fan!

Name 3 songs you wish you had written.

'The Weight' by the Band,'Eleanor Rigby' by the Beatles and 'Layla' by Derek and the Dominos. I could go on for another hour and a half.

Besides your Southern California waves, what are your favorite surfing spots in the world?

You have to understand, I have limited experience. At eight years, I'm just now able to call myself a surfer, rather than somebody that surfs. I sure had a great time surfing the Big Island of Hawaii recently. I've surfed a lot in central California's Santa Cruz.

Your good friend Sara Bareilles recently had a payday with an iTunes commercial. What's your "payday song?"

Oh, boy. I guess it could be any one of them, though some are better candidates than others. I don't think of them as an A&R guy would. I just try to write and record the songs faithfully, from the heart. I might be [regarded as] a catalog artist. There are a million outlets and avenues; I think the key to survival is thinking that there's always a listener out there. You have to think that if you have a song worth singing, it will find those listeners.

I read that you were inspired at a young age by a Grateful Dead tape. Who has really influenced you since you began your career?

Greg Brown. People have said that if there wasn't a Dylan, he would be "the guy." He certainly taught me a thing or two about telling a story. Martin Sexton is one of the better voices to come around in the last 50 years. Wilco taught me about the tonal palette, mixing genres on one record and having a collage of country with "far-out rock" and figuring out how to make a new sound. Believe it or not, I didn't recognize just how great a songwriter Tom Petty is and how great a band the Heartbreakers are until I saw the documentary. Petty inspired me in regards to approaching your music, your band and your sound as a life-long process. My goal when I started was to make a lot of records and I want the road to go on forever. It's what I want to do, forever. I enjoy it so much. Even when it's bad, it's still good.


Joey Ryan was able to independently finance his current EP, “Kenter Canyon,” by licensing his music to various media outlets. His music has been featured on Private Practice, One Tree Hill, iTunes Indie Spotlight, KCRW’s “Weekend Becomes Eclectic,” and various commercials, including two long-running ads for Wrigley’s in the UK.

The 5 tracks were produced by Tony Berg (Jesca Hoop, Aimee Mann) and feature performances by Sara Bareilles, Dave Rawlings, Z Berg and Matt Chamberlain. With harmonies by Bareilles, the opening track “Broken Headlights” pays tribute to the shockingly clear Los Angeles air after it rains, gracefully likening it to the confessions of a long-hidden love.