MUSIC BOX: Spooner brings Fireflies, keys

By on October 21, 2014

Jason Spooner says his band’s music resonates with people in the West. Photo: Jason Spooner Band.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – “Fireflies,” the lead single from the new album of the same name from Maine’s Jason Spooner Band, is a windows-down, groovy, full-of-soul R&B track that showcases the band in its new quartet format, not to mention guest and legendary pedal steel player Bucky Baxter. About two years ago, keyboardist Warren McPherson joined the singer-songwriter’s vision of incorporating a multi-texture, dimensional element. The band has made Jackson a regular stop, often twice a year, via its home in Portland, Maine.

“The trio thing was fun for a while – and I’m a big fan of the rawness and simplicity of that formation – but I’ve always considered four the magic number with bands, especially when keys and guitar are the melodic elements,” Spooner said. “There’s just such a wide range of sounds and textures that a keyboard/piano can offer, to the point that it’s more like adding an orchestra to your band versus adding one additional instrument. We have a lot more options in live settings and we put out a much bigger and more developed sound than we used to with the trio. It’s been a great addition and Warren is a very talented musical player with a deep background and great ideas.”

Spooner’s drive as an artist is undeniable. Aside from out-sourcing promotion and recording services, his 100 percent self-managed band acts as their own label and booking agent. The slow burn has progressed through talent and hard work, with early boosts coming from deserved recognition that Spooner can write a damn good tune. He made it to the international finals of the Mountain Stage New Song Contest, was honored as a national finalist in the Starbucks Music Makers competition, was named as a New Folk Finalist in the renowned Kerrville Folk, and was a finalist in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Competition, among others.

With Spooner’s fourth album, Fireflies, the funky elements link up with similar aesthetics that have proved successful for his contemporary John Mayer, including a smooth and soulful voice, sultry production, and a brush of mainstream-worthy melodic hooks. But more importantly, the band extended beyond their comfort zone in an effort to reach a more organic-sounding, real-time product.

“We made a point of recording the core tracks of this record live, as we have always felt like we were missing the key performance element of what we do live,” Spooner said. “For a number of songs, we also got away from the traditional form of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge and explored some new territory with not being worried if a song was extending beyond four minutes, which was all very liberating. We’ve never put instrumentals on albums and this one has two of them. I’ve also never done a fully acoustic, stripped down solo track and this album closes with one.”

With support from Taylor Guitars, L.L. Bean, Fishman Transducers as well as press in publications as divergent as USA Today and High Times, Spooner’s creative output is being dispersed through many traditional and non-traditional outlets. Take the time to check him out and offer an ear.

“We have such a blast touring out West and it’s a great way to see the most beautiful part of the country. We also find that our music seems to resonate out here. People seem willing to give you an honest listen whereas the East can be a little fad-oriented. It’s good for the soul.”

Jason Spooner Band, 10 p.m. on Thursday at Town Square Tavern. Free. 733-8668.

About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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