Jason Eady, a Mississippi native, making his living out of Texas, has had a varied working life, including working as an Arabic Translator for the US Air Force & working in IT, before deciding to try his hand at his passion, singing & song writing at the age of 30.

Now at the age of 43, Jason is a highly accomplished Songwriter, who’s work commands comparison with the great Americana\Alt. Country Songwriters, such as Townes Van Zant, John Prine, Ray Wylie Hubbard & Jason Isbell, with a strong country voice.

Joining Jason on the Album, produced by Kevin Welch, are Kevin Foster, Giovanni Carnuccio and Naj Conklin, Courtney Patton accompanying on backing vocals. Released by Old Guitar Records on 10thAugust 2018.

Jason is known as a prolific writer, I Travel On being his 7thalbum, following on from his 2017, eponymously titled previous release. However, it should be noted that there has been no loss of quality, despite the number of releases. Indeed, I Travel On, it could be argued is his best release to date. While the song writing may not contain the multi-layered detail of an Isbell song, Eady’s songs still tell the story, & paint the pictures like any form of art. To say that any of the Songs would sound out of place performed by any of the artists mentioned earlier would be a lie.

I Travel On is certainly his most upbeat record to date, recorded live & acoustic, it has an organic feel.  There are more fiddles & banjos on this album than previously, giving it a distinct Bluegrass flavour on a number of the tracks, including the album opener, I lost My Mind in Carolina, which is an upbeat, stomping hoedown.

As per the title track, there seem to be recurring themes throughout the album – travelling, life’s journey, self-reflection, contentment at where he is in life. Indeed Jason, despite his reputation for the melancholy, is indeed a Happy Man as the song states “if I die today, I died a happy man who lived and loved and sang / I’ve had a life I used to dream of, I wouldn’t change too many things”. This no doubt is down to being settled in his family, married to the incredibly talented Courtney Patton, a native Texan, a star in her own right & a beautiful daughter.

Now Or Never, is a sumptuous slice of what I have been calling Funktry ever since I heard Brent Cobb’s release, Providence Canyon. The travel theme recurring “I gotta move along, one foot then another/ prepared for the world to unravel”

In a similar vein, one of my favourite tracks on the album, That’s Alright is more country funk, layered with awesome fiddle interludes & layered in guitar & vocal harmonies. I would imagine this is about Jason personal journey to where he is today – “Well he found himself in Ft. Worth/Said I better start movin’ along/Then along came a-one of them cowgirls/Talkin’ with a Texas drawl…”

Another favourite is the upbeat, Calveras County. It’s a story about a road trip in a camper van from Jason’s childhood. Painting a picture of the area with ease, & in simple terms so you almost feel like you are standing there.

Always a Woman, the first single from the album, is a slower tempo track. About a wise old man questioning Jason about the sad look on his face. As a matter of fact, the song originates from time spent in Dallas visiting a friend who was having a bad time Courtney Patton asked him, ‘Is it a woman?’ He said, ‘It’s always a woman’. This was the first track written for the album.

Below the Waterline, sounds like an old Willie Nelson tune. Telling the story of floods in Bristol, & the power of destruction that Mother Nature possesses.

Track 8 on the album is Pretty When I Die. This is a song about life & the road the path that we take throughout the journey, taking the bull by the horns and being in control of your destiny. Showing determination & not wavering from the direction he chose all those years back, because he loves what he does as opposed to the 9 to 5 life that he had previously – “I wanna look like a man who tried/ I wanna have a story for every line around my eyes/ I don’t wanna be pretty when I die”.

The intro of She Had to Run, sounds like the opening theme to one of the old classic spaghetti westerns. It sees Eady take the role of narrator, a coming across a woman trying to flag down a car at night – “she knew nothin’ could be worse than what she was leavin’/ Around her eyes looked like coal/ But she knew the only thing that she could do was keep on breathin’/ she had to run, she had to run/ Get out as fast as she could/ she knew the next time he’d do/ What he always said he would”. A song dealing with domestic abuse in a similar vein to Isbell’s ‘Yvette’.

Another of my favourites, The Climb, follows a similar path, it’s all about climbing the mountain of life., finding your path and sticking to it. The fiddle & acoustic guitar shine.

All in all, I found this to be a wonderful release, an instant foot-tapper, with lots of catchy hooks, incredible musicianship & harmonies. It’s one of my favourite albums of the year already.

Jason is touring with his band currently & hits Europe & the UK in October. I highly recommend that you try & get to one of his shows, it will be one to remember. If you can’t then just do yourself a favour & buy I Travel On you won’t be disappointed!

Roger Sharman

August 29th 2018

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