With the release of Lady Antebellum’s new album ‘Ocean’, we’d like to introduce you all to Jason ‘Slim’ Gambill, the pigtailed lead guitarist for Lady A. Mary Dopson-Taylor got to chat with the multi-talented musician, exclusively for Country Lowdown…
Did you get to see any of the UK on your trip to C2C earlier this year?
Not this time! We’ve had the great fortune to visit the UK quite a few times now so I’ve been able to explore a bit in the past, but this particular trip was an absolute whirlwind. 3 shows in 3 days in 3 countries. . .we blinked and all of a sudden we were flying home!
I have read a little about you on your site and on Jazz Kitchen who have featured your album release Fake Jazz & Theme Songs. Is this your first solo release? Please tell us more!
This is my first solo release! It’s an instrumental album (with the exception of one tune) of my original stuff. It’s all over the map musically—informed by jazz, funk, rock, blues—basically everything I’ve ever gotten into. Other than country! It’s gone over incredibly well and has given me a really fun outlet to just play whatever comes out. I started in jazz and blues and classic funk and classic rock and soul in high school and college, so it’s kind of me circling back around to some of the stuff I know best. It came out Sept 6 digitally AND on LP and CD. Hopefully everyone will go to www.slimgambill.com and check it out! (Cheap Plug hahaha!)
Going back to the beginning, what triggered your serious interest in music? Do you come from a musical background?
Oddly enough, no! No other musicians in my family anywhere as far as I can tell. My Grandma always told me I had a great great uncle who played the banjo though. Ha! So maybe that’s it. I got an old acoustic guiar from my other Grandma when I was 9. I just thought it sounded fun and there was a guitar class at my school. I took to it pretty quickly and I actually started practicing the very first day without even being told to. But I really got bit by the music bug when I was probably 11 or so—the rock music of the time really got me. The first thing that hit me was Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” being blasted on a boom box in the back of the school bus. I had grown up on my parents’ Classic Rock records—The Stones, Springsteen, Moody Blues, Queen, Creedence, Hendrix, Toto, The Who—so I was all about rock music but this was the first time I had really listened to what was CURRENT. And I became obsessed pretty quickly. When I was 12 there was another guitar class at school and I got really into it. First couple tunes I learned were “Stairway To Heaven,” “Purple Haze,” and “The Wind Cries Mary.” So that tells you where I was at! I became obsessed with rock n roll and then later in high school started exploring jazz, funk, R&B, and blues. I stayed obsessed with all of it for quite some time. . .
Who were your earliest influences?
See above! My parent’s record collection. . .primarily classic rock. . .
What was your first paid session job and with whom?
Can’t quite remember the first session as a hired musician honestly. . .but my first paid gig was playing jazz standards at a (very) small high school prom when I was 15! I made 25 bucks. . .
Slim on stage with Lady Antebellum
Tell me an interesting fact about yourself?
My favorite role I’ve had in my life is that of a Dad. My family is my entire world. I never thought anything would put music to a distant second but my family has done just that. I can’t get enough of my kids.
What would you say is your most memorable and proudest moment?
Tie–the birth of my son and the birth of my daughter. Musically I’d have to say The Grammys, Playing Red Rocks, and my first TV appearance on Ellen with Josh Kelley. Also being able to play in the house band on a late night TV show (“Last Call w/ Carson Daly”) is something I had always wanted to do. And still want to do more of!
I have read that you have done some songwriting. What is your favourite song you’ve written personally and is there a song you wish you had written?
There are a bunch really—my favorites tend to be tunes that sound like Springsteen. . .ha! There’s one called “Working For A Living” that I wrote with Randy Montana that I love. . .”Built To Last” written with Corey Crowder. . .”Better With Time” written with Cale Dodds and Andy Skib. . .”Bad Guy” written with Charles Kelley and Tebey. . .but I could go on. . .I always dug my own tunes more than other people did though! Ha! The story of Music Row. . . Songs I wish I’d written? Wow. . .”I Drive Your Truck,” “The Driver,” “Homeboy,” “Casualties” (American Aquarium), “Most People” (Dawes) “Dress Blues” (Isbell), The entire soundtrack to “Superfly,” pretty much the entire Springsteen and Allman Brothers Catalog. . .I mean. . .SO MANY songs I wish I’d written. . .
Is there anyone you wish you could share the stage with (dead or alive)?
Springsteen, Jason Isbell, George Benson, Tom Petty, The Black Crowes, Sheryl Crow, Rival Sons, Zac Brown, Dawes
Who are you listening to right now?
American Aquarium, Rival Sons, Rare Earth, Jason Isbell’s “The Nashville Sound,” Boy & Bear, The Sheepdogs, Dawes, Audioslave, Stanley Turrentine, The Jazz Messengers, George Benson, Southside Johnny, of course the new Springsteen record. . .Tom Petty. Always Tom Petty.
Apart from the album, do you have any other projects in the pipeline or some well earned vacation time?
Working on music for the next album! The first promo single “Over Getting Over You (feat. Candace Devine) for this one dropped July 19, full LP on Sept. 6 and I’d love to have another ready to rock next spring!
We wish you every success with the album, and hope to see you back in the UK soon!
Mary Dopson-Taylor for Country Lowdown
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Featured Photo Credit: Lance Palmer