Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Jesse Aycock
As a versatile multi-instrumentalist, Tulsa’s Jesse Aycock is an in-demand sideman who has lent his talents to several national acts over the years, traveling the world as a member of Hard Working Americans and supporting tours for musicians Elizabeth Cook and The Secret Sisters. With this self-titled release, Jesse stands center stage with thirteen beautifully executed songs, highlighting his significant gifts as a singer-songwriter.
Fans of Jesse’s previous solo efforts will recognize this soulful artist’s signature blend of masterful musicianship, poetic lyricism, and thoughtful songwriting, and they won’t be disappointed with the album’s exploration of Jesse’s myriad influences. The lovely, mournful“ Sadder Than a Sunset” reflects his acoustic, country-folk roots, while “Past Life” rocks a deep topic with an upbeat pop sensibility and “Under The Gun” swirls with a psychedelic refrain.
“I’ve been working on many of these songs over the last few years, but I could never land on something until they finally took shape. A handful came together very recently. I wrote ‘Second Chances Better Luck’ late one night and had it demo’d with parts and lyrics by sunrise. There were a few songs I was still finishing up as we were tracking them, which was a new experience for me. Luckily, I have faith in the creative process and great friends to work with in the studio. I find that when you let things happen organically, that’s when magic happens,” Jesse says of the songwriting process.“ Overall, I think this album is a little more personal and vulnerable than my previous albums. That’s partly why I decided to release it as self-titled. I think for the listener, it’s still abstract enough to find your own meaning.”
Jesse plays guitar, steel guitar, keys, and Mellotron on his latest album. He’s joined by good friends and fellow Tulsa musicians drummer Paddy Ryan, bassist Aaron Boehler, and keyboardist John Fullbright. Jason Crosby contributed keys and strings to several tracks, and Lauren Barth, Allison Moorer, and Jason Weinheimer, the record’s co-producer and engineer, contributed background vocals. The album was recorded at Weinheimer’s Fellowship Hall Sound in Little Rock, Arkansas, with additional tracks recorded at Paradise Studios in Tia Juana, Oklahoma (Leon Russell’s former recording compound on scenic Grand Lake.)
In addition to his time with Hard Working Americans, The Secret Sisters, and Elizabeth Cook, Jesse has also toured with Scott Hirsch, John Fullbright, Travis Linville, and Samantha Crain. During his career, he’s shared the stage with musical luminaries like Tedeschi Trucks Band, Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, John Moreland, and Ian Moore.
Previous solo releases include2005’s Life’s Ladder and 2010’s Inside Out of Blue. Twenty-twelve’s Flowers & Wounds was recorded at Leon Russell’s legendary Church Studio in Tulsa. Jesse’s longtime and sorely missed friend and former bandmate, Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Hard Working Americans, Ryan Adams and The Cardinals), played guitar / produced and George Sluppick (CRB, JJ Grey & Mofro) supplied drums, with additional contributions from David Hildago (Los Lobos) and Tulsa legend Jimmy Karstein.
After a long and difficult year, Jesse Aycockis a light at the end of a dark tunnel for listener and musician alike.
“Making this record was healing, difficult and beautiful. I’d been through a challenging year, filled with loss and heartbreak. When everything around you seems to fall apart, you have to lean into something,” says Jesse.“ Music has always been that for me. Recording these songs helped ground me.”
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