Talk about pressure.
Jason Eady started making progress on the vibrant Texas music scene with the title cut of his 2012 album “AM Country Heaven.” The veteran singer/songwriter was looking to increase his fan base and popularity with his next project, the 2014 masterpiece “Daylight/Dark.”
The album immediately generated a tidal wave of critical acclaim, with one reviewer saying it was equal to Willie Nelson's iconic “Phases And Stages” concept album. Anytime an artist in the Lone Star State is compared to the Red Headed Stanger, heads turn and jaws drop.
Growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, Eady idolized the masterful songwriting and endless creativity of Nelson. Being mentioned in the same breath as the legendary showman was a tremendous honor, and at the same time, raised the bar to startling new heights.
Eady was up for the challenge.
Fast forward four years and Eady is on the verge on releasing new music which he hopes will generate even bigger accolades when long awaited album “I Travel On” ships Aug. 10.
“We've been sitting on this thing since December waiting for people to hear it,” Eady said.
Eady will play a healthy dose of the new album and many older fan favorites like “Cry Pretty,” “Why I Left Atlanta” and “Wishful Drinking” when he appears at 3 p.m. Sunday at Morello's in Harrisburg.
John D. Hale from Jackson, Missouri, is the opening act.
Doors open at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for general admission, a VIP table with four seats is $80 and a VIP table with eight seats is $250. For more information, call 618-252-2300 or purchase tickets online at www.travisbeasleymusic.com/jason-eady-show.
The 43-year-old Eady released three independent albums before joining forces with Kevin Welch in 2012. Welch was an aspiring country artist in the 1980s and '90s who released 10 singles with very limited success. However, he found his niche as a record producer.
Out of the gates with an outspoken, care-free attitude on “AM Country Heaven,” Eady followed the powerful tradition of Texas music by delivering a product rich in acoustic and steel guitar when he sang about Nashville country being “too damn clean, polished like stones” and performed by artists doing exacting what they are told, sending them to “FM country hell.”
Eady never could fit his sound into a neat little box. It constantly evolved until he found the current perfect musical blend to create a mesmerizing swampy groove.
In a trick learned from Willie, Easy used his road band to record the new album to create a more vibrant sound. The players include: Kevin Foster, lead guitar, Norman, Oklahoma; Naj Conklin, upright base, Tulsa. Oklahjoma; and Giovanni Carnuccio, drums, Philadelphia.
Harmonies were provided by Eady's wife, popular Texas singer/songwriter Courtney Patton.
Eady and the band spent 2017 on the road finding the fresh new sound.
Not a typical songwriter, Eady doesn't write every day, or every week or every month. He watches life themes and stories play out over a period of time and eventually something inside him clicks, inspiring him to convert all the information into songs.
He said all the tunes for “I Travel On” were written in a month.
“As soon as I wrote 'I Travel On,' I knew it was going to be the title because that's what we did last year and that's what was on my mind," Eady said. "The title also makes sense career-wise because I am moving into new musical territory.”
Hale normally plays with a full band, but, in Harrisburg, he will be doing a solo acoustic show.
He formed a band in 2005 to promote debut album “One Of A Kind,” which finished at No. 17 for XM radio's X-Country year end album ratings for 2006.
Behind the momentum created by his edgy country sound tinged with elements of bluegrass, Southern Rock and outlaw Americana, Hale followed-up with “Lost,” which quickly worked its way to the top of the X-Country radio album chart in 2008 and lingered in the Top 10 most of the year.
From his sophomore album, he tested the Texas Country Music charts with single “Heartbreaker.” The song helped him developed important industry contacts.
The Lone Star State inroads led him to members of popular Austin band Reckless Kelly, which produced his 2012 “More Than I Can Handle” album, which included assistance from Grammy Award-winning engineer Adam Odor.
Now a driving force on the Texas music scene, Hale played at Robert Earl Keen's hometown celebration in Kerrville on July 4. He is playing Off Broadway in St. Louis on July 13 and at Laffayette's in Memphis on Aug. 2.
Upcoming concerts at Morello's include Evan Webb on July 21 and Kendell Marvell on Aug. 18.