Jael The Musicman


Jael began playing music of his own in 1971 at the age of 14. He got some serious attention playing live on a Texas gospel radio show in 1976 and went on to play over 200 concerts a year for the next 5 years. In 1978 he released an LP with the band Preflyte with sales in 8 countries. The next album was a solo acoustic LP and while the critics liked it, it was a commercial failure. Undaunted, he reformed Preflyte for a rough heavy sounding studio reunion concert and released it simultaneously with a single from a new studio solo project called Filling the Void. "Preflyte Raw" broke even financially and Old Gypsy Moon, the song from Filling the Void, climbed the Canadian RPM AOR charts in Nov of 81 to # 29, breaking in to the top 10 Canadian releases at the time. A second single called Eden was released in 82 and climbed to # 25 and stayed a while. It also got some regional US airplay. Filling the Void was meant to be a trilogy of Albums and in 83, Jael started work on the second and third volumes simultaneously. They are entitled "It's Only Art," and "Dog Barking 11:59. He then went to London to help out band mate turned producer Jamie Proulx and recorded a 3 song EP known as the London Sessions, releasing "Observations" as a single. This recording also features life-long friend and collaborator Brian Danter on bass. After the London sessions, he began to produce and work with other artists. Legion and Tanzen, Canadian bands with minor hit records, both came under his touch for a while. Jael and Brian took a new album to Aquarius Records, but due to differences between Brian and his old label, it did not get picked up. Brian led the band Teaze through their years with Aquarius. Brian later released some music on a live album with Wind-Soar that came from this collaboration. Jael just kept working on a variety of other projects, recording CCM artist Robert Johnson, and beginning a relationship with musician turned sound and video studio owner, Walter Riggi. He next recorded a favorite project entitled "Songs for Lovers and Other Minorities." Musically it has been described as a cross between Cockburn and Mellancamp. He next embraced a grass roots alternative music sound. He also went for a number of niche markets as far as content goes. Jael created a folk-punk album simply titled Jerry and the Jerks, with five fictitious characters as the line-up. He did most of the writing and playing, sharing writing credits on only one song, and playing credentials with Walter. In the middle of this, Desert Storm erupted and a song called "The Thorn" was readied as a single in direct response. Unfortunately funding delayed the release until the company felt it no longer urgent to get it out and though it appeared on the album, it was not released as a single. Shortly thereafter he turned his hand to two LP's of motivational songs, ("In The Rough" & "Road Warrior), wrote a country LP that some publishers in Nashville claimed was too lyrically sophisticated, and wrote a praise and worship collection for his Church. He also recorded an allegorical demo with Brian of a double length album called "Five Minutes to Showtime." Jael then released a live show with his kids. Dynamite the Dinosaur was born and toured festivals across the US and Canada. A recording, and a kid's book followed and then an invitation to play in Singapore. The California period came next. New musicians, new influences and the internet began to change the game. The first internet only release came out in 1996, from Jason Ames' living room computer in California. It was called Acoustic One Shot and had similar ideology to Johnny Cash's later acoustic only release. Since both people on the internet that year seemed to have missed it, JLT Records re-released it in 2004 with an additional track. Jason was a drummer who later played a couple of live recorded performances as well, one released as "Live in Littlerock." Jael had been contemplating forming a new label called "Old Farts with Cool Tunes" since he had been excited about a number of collaborative projects with the fallen stars of rock and roll with whom he was working. Brian from Canada of course was to be included, Phil Bryant of 707 and Jim Veritch from Alice Cooper. Jim started selling guitars over the internet, walked away from recording so the timing wasn't right for him and the California connection became strained as Jay began to commute back to the Michigan area. Both Phil and Brian went on to work with Jay but released the projects on the JLT Records label. Phil worked on the "911" album and the "Poets and Sages" project by Lamenting Vinyl, which Jael mostly wrote and produced. Brian worked on "Preflyte Raw" (his first commercial recording playing lead instead of bass), "The London Sessions," "Five Minutes to Showtime," and "Political by Necessity" for Jael, a single called "Thank a Vet" for Lorne James (Jael's country alter ego) and collaborated with Jay for eight new albums for himself. The first release from this almost 3 decade writing project is called Traitors' Gate. Watch for lots more soon. Jael was called about putting together a double album entitled, "For the Record", which will cover the history of his years in the business. It will go forward but since a flood damaged most of the old masters, roughly two thirds of the material will need to be re-recorded. Jael is a truly international artist, born with both US and Canadian citizenships and living and working in several other countries as well. He has spent time in Mexico, Colombia SA, and working with a number of Latin artists from Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Argentina. Recently he has added the European continent to his list of touring destinations and has written a song which broke into platinum certification for a friend in Asian Markets. He released a critically acclaimed CD in 2013 called Great Expectations followed in 2014 by an EP called Good Intentions. These featured unity of theme but crossed the genres as few artists attempt to do on one project. His voice and some favorite chord progressions keep the project cohesive while providing enough variety that it will stand many listenings without wearing thin. 2018 saw a shift in his focus. He began in the CCM genre and 2018 will see the release of Playing for An Audience of One, a return of sorts to his roots. He’s keeping the multi-genre sound for the album but the theme is worship to the Creator of all. Many praise and worship albums exist but not many have sounded like this. This is art as it was meant to be, reflectively creative. He is just trying to be a channel for what needs to be said. This album will bring the total projects he’s been a major contributor to, to over 100. There is a lot I've left out. Fortunately, there is a fairly comprehensive Jael discography available at www.JaeltheMusicman.com.







What is music to you? What does it give you?

Actually, that's a loaded question. Music is a form of worship and its intention is extremely important. It's more than, "This is what music is or does." It carries you somewhere and it's usually intentional. Some artists make music because of the glory it reflects to themselves. Some reflect it elsewhere. Some just channel those things that need to be said through the music so that those things can be heard. It's very spiritual in nature. It gives me an outlet for my creative expression and hopefully, I say what needs saying.

What is your music dream?

Not to be heard by everyone but to be heard by all those who need to hear at the right time. My art provides a perspective that some will relate to and need at points in their lives. My dream is to reach them.

If you could change the world - what would you start with?


Which is the most memorable song from your childhood?

Probably the Beatles, the whole Rubber Soul album. They blew my mind and changed music forever for me. Up until then, I had only really heard classical music, church music, and children's records.

Who are your favorite musical artists or bands?

Mostly obscure artists and great lyricists. Larry Norman, Tonio K, Mark Heard & Bruce Cockburn. Appreciate Leonard Cohen & Bob Dylan at times. Clifford T Ward, Randy Stonehill, Bob Bennett and Al Stewart. Terry Scott Taylor, Mike Roe, Daniel Amos and the 77s. My Mentor Ron Moore and of course the outstanding Screaming Lord Sutch. (The last one is a joke.)

What inspires you to make music?

I can't say because life is most often interpreted to me in my head through music. It's my ongoing conversation with God. It has all the ups and downs of that relationship.

What is the message you want to send with your music?

There is not one message and it doesn't really end with my intention, though it always starts there. The art is completed when someone hears it. They bring a different perspective to the art than I had when I created it. It gets bigger because the perspective is what it is about. Art is not the truth. It comments on truth. So where I am is one angle and someone sees more in my message than I do because of where they are when they look at it. I hope it helps them deal with life as they find it. I write about all things I observe but I don't see everything.

How do you feel when you perform in front of an audience?

Connected. Live performance is different from recording because there is a form of instant feedback. You get to see if you're even relevant that night. Lol.

How do you see the musicians’ reality nowadays? What could be improved?

It's what we make it. If it will be improved it's because we do it ourselves. There is no outside Savior of the music business, no easy street. All that facing that reality can do is help the art become better.

What do you think of Drooble?

I like the community I've experienced. There are site issues I hope will be addressed someday but overall it's a good thing.

What frustrates you most as a musician?

So much to do, so little time. I could use a team. Record companies used to take care of the details and let you get on with it. They were the team. Now it's harder to find teams that hold a vision for real art for life. Lots of ageism still in the mix. I need social media people and folks with great web skills.

Do you support your local scene as a fan? How?

Lol. This could fill a book. I have worn all the hats in the business for other local artists that I believe in.

What qualities should a musician nowadays have in order to get their music heard by a larger audience?

Great material, perseverance, learn new online strategies, never stop, stay current, diligence, keep learning, keep at it. Did I mention perseverence?

Share some awesome artists that we’ve never heard of.

The ones I've had on my label have not gotten enough attention. I'm at the top of the list. Jael, Teaze, Danter, Legion, Tanzen, Lamenting Vinyl, Jerry & the Jerks, JL the Cool Jay, PreFlyte, Jamie Proulx and Hexatrix, 2Fish, Jay and the Rubber Band, The Skylight Worship Project, Jamie Dech, Bill Compeau, Ian MacGregor Smith, Ty Sharron, Brianne Danter, Where's Peter & Lorne James. Then on my friend Ron Moore's label, Ron himself, Albrecht Roley & Moore, Pat Quinn, James Issac Elliott & I've mentioned Mark Heard above. Lastly the artists I’ve worked with who are significant to famous people but few know them. Jim Veritch, Phil Bryant of 707’s, Loren Weisman, Emilio Palame, Charles Meeks, Tom Wilson who played Biff in the Back to the Future movies and is actually a good songwriter and musician. I could have said Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd but then I realized that I've never heard of them either.