GG: You are touring your album “Underwater”, now I know the back ground on why but could you tell the listener/readers why?
JR: When I was younger a hole in my ear drum had formed and the DR. said I was never allowed to go under water. Over time the hole in my ear drum started to heal,the DR. said that finally I could put my head under water so first time this year I did, and it was so incredibly silent and I started thinking about a song while I was under there.
GG: What are rehearsals generally like for you? Does it take a lot of discipline to sit down and actually write songs or does inspiration come momentarily for you.
JR: its usually the ladder, I don’t like to think about it too much so, for me I have to wait for inspiration in order to write something. I have never been one of those people that can just pull out a guitar and say “I am gonna write a song.” I usually just go about living my life and then I think “oh that would be a good idea for a song.”
I write a lot of songs to remind myself of certain things, songs are like letters to people if I cant tell them how I am feeling or for example last night I wrote a song in the dressing room before the show, because I knew I wanted to have something to sing and say good bye to the audience, so we played it and it went over really well so maybe I will continue to do it. who knows if ill ever record it.
GG: That is a really amazing way to personalize your music to your fans and enhance the live experience. When you go to show you have been waiting to see and the artist does a special song or event for your concert, it makes you obviously like the artist and connect with them more.
JR: laughs yeah
GG: what was the hardest song to sit down and record or actually write on “Underwater.”
JR: I would say …..that the closing track “Any Day Now,” that took a few different passes a few different try’s, the pass of the song, cutting lyrics out, adding lyrics in, that one was closing album because the sound , we ended up with a very unique sound.
GG:If you were not playing music but clearly excitingly enough you are! what would you be doing?
JR: well I didn’t start playing music up until 8 years ago. So I have had a ton of jobs, I started music late in life. I loved being an Art Teacher to little kids. Did that for a while and that was probably my most fun job.
GG: Oh if we could all wake up and love what we are doing….that is my ultimate goal.
JR: well that is how you stay young
GG: I will let you know in a couple years
JR: I want my story to be inspirational, some people wake up at 30 and realize they dont love what they are doing but they are too invested in it so they thing they cant start over. Thats what I did, and I constantly do that to try and reinvent myself in some way, and like I said its a constant challenge and it keeps you young. When I was a kid music to me looked like a magic trick so I was just so intimidated by it. When I acutely sat down and said alright I am going to do this, its not so difficult if you really love it and you practice hard. My story is it’s never too late.
GG: yeah that is a human quality that we all have ..
JR: My biggest fear is being on my death bed with some sort of regret that I didn’t try something I always wanted to try.
GG: So when you do your song writing process do the stories come first or is it the music?
JR: Actually the music always come first and then I wait around for something i really need to say and then I will fit the lyrics into it.
GG: What is your most influential song that has always really inspired you? or the most influential song you think you have written?
JR: That is really tough, there are so many songs. I would have to say the first song I learned how to play, which was Bob Dylan’s “Don’t think twice it’s alright.” If I ever play a cover at a show it is usually that song because it reminds me when I sat down and figured out how he wrote it, and there is no better person to look to then dylan when it comes to song writing.
GG:What is the best line you have ever wrote? Do you have one of those?
JR: hah well I donno, I guess probably the first lyric I ever wrote. The first song I ever wrote was called “Winter” and the first lyric I wrote was “I should know who I am by now.”
GG: That is something universal I feel like a lot of people sit back and wonder that about them selves.
JR: That is a frustrating thought but that is why we make art to quite that frustration for just a bit.
GG: I ask every single artist this because I think it is important, what is the best thing a fan has done for you?
JR: I don’t think there has been just one experience but I would say meeting people that get my lyrics tattooed on their body. I love tattoos but I have never found anything that I would want to be so permanent. I am alway amazed when someone has committed to one of my lyrics for the rest of their lives, its amazing and its flattering.
GG: Yeah that is a big commitment! My last question is a tough one……what are your famous last words.
JR: Oh I have no idea
GG: haha I have to ask, I normally interview bands where pie is involved and thats always the last question. While you’re in Vancouver I might just need to swing by with pie so you can be part of my sessions.
JR: Black berry pie with ice cream sounds great, then mine would be “I should have eaten more pie!”
GG: I love it! It was so wonderful talking to you and thanks for taking the time to do an interview.