Jason Wilber
talks about
"Lazy Afternoon"
by Johanna J. Bodde


talks about
"Lazy Afternoon"
(WilberTone Records)
In case you don't know Jason Wilber from Bloomington, Indiana very well yet, here's some info from his bio:
"In addition to pleasing audiences with the alternately witty and insightful songs featured on his solo CDs, Jason Wilber has also played lead guitar for notable folk, rock, and country artists such as John Prine, Hal Ketchum, Greg Brown, Iris DeMent, Todd Snider, Greg Trooper, Carrie Newcomer, and Tim Grimm. Highlights of Jason's work with John Prine include the Grammy nominated "Live On Tour" and "In Spite Of Ourselves" (which spent 32 weeks on the Billboard Country Charts) and the 2006 Grammy Award winning album "Fair & Square". Jason Wilber's TV and radio appearances include Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Sessions At West 54th Street, Austin City Limits, Live with Regis and Kathy Lee, CNN's Entertainment Week, The Road, Mountain Stage, E-Town and The Grand Ole Opry.
Indeed, quite an impressive list. So it makes me proud, that Jason was kind enough to record some liners for our radioshows Alt.Country Cooking and RadioGirl...
Besides "Lazy Afternoon" I would also like to recommend "Live And Otherwise, Volume I". Allow me to quote some of Jason's liner notes on that favorite of mine: "These songs were recorded at various times and places between 1996 and 2005. The source recordings range from bootlegs to professional live recordings to home demos to studio outtakes. Some of these songs have appeared on other CDs of mine, and some haven't. The ones that have are presented here in live versions or alternate studio versions. "Silver Linings" was recorded at the same time as the songs on my first CD, "Lost In Your Hometown". For whatever reason, we decided not to use it at the time. I later re-recorded the vocal, and that's the version presented here. A different arrangement of this song appears on my album "King For A Day". Two of the live tracks were recorded at The Bluebird Nightclub where I've been playing for about 20 years now, which is hard for me to believe. The live tracks from Nashville are two of my personal favorites, because they really capture what that wonderful band sounded like in the club. "Blackeye" was recorded in my living room on one microphone when I was trying out my home recording setup. I thought the living room would sound good so I strung a few mic cables together back down the hall to my office where I had my recording gear. I pressed record, walked back out, and did one take. After I listened to a little of it and figured out that everything was working, I filed the track away and forgot about it. About a year later I happened to stumble across it and gave it a listen. It turned out to be one of my best recordings. Sometimes you get lucky. "A Lot On My Mind" started out as a cassette 4-track demo. I always liked the interplay of the two guitars, but I knew I probably couldn't ever play it exactly that way again. So a couple of years ago I dumped the 4 tracks into my computer, did a new vocal, and got old Ace to add some brushes on the snare drum. Hope you'll pardon the tape hiss. Just pretend it's the rain on the roof. That's what I usually do."
And now exclusively for Insurgent Country: Jason Wilber!
"Here are notes on some of the songs from my CD "Lazy Afternoon":
"LAZY AFTERNOON" is a song I wrote after a visit to the Art Institute in Chicago. They have a wonderful collection of impressionist paintings there and I always enjoy those. I was trying to capture some of that relaxing outdoor feeling that you see in some of these paintings. I just used words and music instead of paint and canvas.
"NORTHERN LIGHTS SEEN OVER LEWISBURG TENNESSEE" was inspired by 3 things. The first is an old pencil box I used to have sitting on my desk. The pencils were the "Big Dipper" model, which I believe are the fat ones you use as a little kid. They were made by the J.R. Moon Pencil Co. in Lewisburg Tennessee. The celestial references made me curious about what was going on down there in Lewisburg. The second is an Eskimo folk tale I heard about the Northern Lights carrying off little kids for some reason or another. I don't remember the story, but that one part of it stuck with me. The last element came when I was talking to my boss at the guitar store where I worked in my early twenties. For some reason he was explaining to me that the milky way is a spiral galaxy and it has these arms that sort of go out to the sides. I thought that was a beautiful image. So not too long after that, these three elements sort of collided in my mind one day and I wrote this song. I didn't end up recording it until about 15 years later.

"DOWN IN RUSSELL SQUARE" is about a summer afternoon I spent in Russell Square in London England. It's a little neighborhood park. I passed through it while walking to the British Museum. It was such a lovely scene I had to park myself on a bench there for a while and enjoy it all. I got this melody and some words in my head while I was sitting there but had nothing to write with. I was afraid I would forget, so I sang the parts of the words and melody to myself all afternoon until I could get back to my hotel room and write them down. This song is one of my favorites to play and sing because it always transports me back to that lovely afternoon in the park.
"THE LAST MEETING OF THE QUAKERTOWN OPTIMIST CLUB" was inspired by a little article I saw in the paper about how this local Optimist Club was giving up. That struck me as pretty humorous. So I started imagining what their last meeting would be like. I sort of had Mark Twain's story "Cannibalism in the Cars" in my head too and I wanted to write the song in a simular style.
"WATCHING PICASSO" is a song I wrote about seeing a Canadian singer-songwriter named Ron Hynes perform in a little bar in St. Johns, Newfoundland. I was just expecting to hear your basic local pub singer, but instead here is this brilliant songwriter with tons of wonderful and unique songs. I was completely in shock. It was very inspiring to discover someone new like that. Of course, he was only new to me. In Canada he was well known. I walked back to my hotel room that night and was so inspired by the experience that I tried to put it down in a song. I got the words and part of the melody and chords right away. I think it probably took me a year or so to figure out the right chords for the verses though. The rhythm and harmony is somewhat reminiscent of Ron's style and the music of that area.
"WHO CARRIED YOU" is a song written by Malcolm Holcomb. Malcolm is an amazing songwriter. I first heard it on a tape of his demos that I got from Gillian Welch. They were just guitar and vocal, but completely mesmerizing. This song in particular always stuck with me. I couldn't even figure out what it was about for several years. But I knew I liked the words and the melody. So we cut it at the same time as the other songs for my Lazy Afternoon record. It seemed to fit in, so we kept it."
Thank you, Jason!