Photo courtesy of Jason Bailey.
Musician Jason Bailey will play a show at Moonlight on the Mountain on March 5. The cost of the show is $12. The Hoover Sun recently caught up with Bailey to learn more about his musical journey.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
About 20 years ago, my life changed when I received a garage-sale mandolin from my dad, which led to a bachelor’s degree in music from Maryville College, and a now fifteen year “gig” as a professional musician. I’m a composer, a teacher, a studio musician and a performer. Mandolin is my primary instrument but I also play mandocello, mandola, bouzouki, tenor banjo, tenor guitar, acoustic guitar and electric mandolin.
For almost as long as I’ve been playing professionally, I have taught private mandolin lessons at Fretted Instruments in Homewood. Thank you Herb Trotman!
Although I am originally from Birmingham and have been based out of here for my whole career I decided, as of 2013, to relocate part-time to Nashville, Tennessee to further the pursuit of music. I usually split my weeks with half in each city.
Describe what type of music you write and perform.
In general, my original compositions are primarily instrumental and incorporate a fusion of elements from jazz, bluegrass and Celtic. Some folks refer to this genre as “new-grass.”
For performances, every gig and band is somewhat different so the demands are different. I’m fortunate to have the opportunities to play a wide variety of musical styles with a wide variety of talented musicians. In fact, at any particular time I often have close to ten band projects currently working.
A typical week of music performance could include any combination of the following genres: jazz, Celtic, bluegrass, rock, folk, Americana or jam-band. These acts appear at places ranging from bars and restaurants, to small listing rooms, to music festivals and even wedding ceremonies and receptions. Just about anywhere that would have music I probably have played.
Where does your inspiration come from?
The inspiration to play music just comes from within me - an inner driving force. I can’t imagine a world without music. There have been occasions where a seemingly small passage of someone else’s composition incorporates melody or harmony in a way that resonates with me and I then feel compelled to approach an entire composition using similar techniques. In this vein, some of my compositions are efforts to be more versed in a particular genre. I find it inspiring trying to create pieces of my own focusing on nuances of genres.
What’s the greatest compliment you’ve ever received about your music?
I don’t know, folks are always nice. I will say that the funniest compliment was someone who said, “Jason, I love your music so much! Every time I put on one of your CDs it makes me go to sleep.” I can’t help but to share this compliment. I sure hope they don’t listen in their car!
What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?
Keep with it! Seek out every opportunity to play and perform. Whether you are playing along with a CD or jamming with friends or doing a gig - there are skills that can only be developed from these different situations. Basically, follow the “Ten Thousand Hours Rule.” In order to get really good at something you just have to do it and keep doing it a whole bunch.