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roxy the rock dog

jer gregg

Well, what's to say about this softly spoken young artist with impeccable manners and who is gracing the pages of MetalTalk with an interview for the first time ever? Quite a lot!

So here's the third part of the story, the interview. Here's the gig review and here's the album review. This is a busy one!

Article continues below...

RTRD: Firstly welcome back to the UK Jer. What's been going on?

JG: "Oh, (soft laugh) thanks so much. This is my fourth time to the UK and I am having so much fun its unbelievable. I love visiting and touring over here. I got myself a new manager and he's lined up some pretty good shows from Cornwall, Hove, London, Latitude and now here in Scotland. There has been a lot of travelling and a lot more new Jer Gregg fans so its been pretty good.

"We travelled up overnight last night so I'm a little bit tired right now but also I'm excited at playing new venues and getting that first positive feedback from people who have never heard of me before. So I'm looking forward to tonight's show at DreadnoughtRock as its our first time here. Alan, who books the gigs at DreadnoughtRock, emailed to say be sure to bring copies of my new album 'Otis' along so I'm looking forward to see if any are purchased. Fingers crossed!"

RTRD: I will mention this is Jer's first printed UK interview so it is also a biggie for MetalTalk as this guy is massive back home in Nashville and a biggie for Jer because – hell – he's made it into MetalTalk! So, Jer, tell us what life is like in Nashville.

JG: "Fast, man - life is so fast in Nashville and I'm not from there right? I'm from a little mid-western place with a population of 7,000, where I grew up in a log cabin that was built by my family way back over 200 years ago. Then I moved to Nashville, which has a population of ¾ million, so I could concentrate more on music although sometimes I work in a bar too. Most musicians there have day jobs and then go play their shows later in the evening.

"Typically though at a mid-week show I would have anywhere from 300+ people coming to see me which is good going in Nashville and I play 2-3 shows a week there. Most gigs are mid week there as at the weekend its quite quiet as musicians are away somewhere else at weekends, doing shows out of town. The only shows on at the weekend are from bands touring down to Nashville. I get really excited for my shows, they have to give me a radio mike and sometimes I throw it into the audience for fans to sing along with me, (laughs) whoops I get into trouble from stage crew!

"The thing about living and being a musician in Nashville is that there are so many of us you got to hone your skill and what you offer or you will sink without a trace. It also keeps you up to speed with what's going on for fans who will listen to you, buy your CD's and come to your shows. I hear things are tight money wise for some fans who want to come to the shows and buy the CD's so that matters to me. So, for example if you come to my show, and all you've got to buy a CD of mine, and you really want it right, but all you've only got is two dollars then tell me and its yours because you're a fan, its yours for two dollars. Oh, and please come back, we really want to see you again at our next show because you matter.

"Its all personal to me, my music, music friends and fans and keeping in touch because if you don't care, and some people really don't care so much, then people will just think you are a d**k and not come back. That's also why 'Otis' is only $2.99 to download, there's a recession on and music's got to be accessible, right?"

RTRD: Well that brings us on to the hot topic right now – your new album 'Otis'. This was just released on the 26th July and it has made it to number 26 on iTunes singer/songwriter charts which is higher than Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen – congratulations!

JG: "Thank you. I'm stoked about 'Otis' doing so well, its sooo good. I've been keeping an eye on my Twitter account and so far there have been some great comments and things said on there about it. It looks like its going down well which is a big relief and to see my music so warmly appreciated and recommended on there to others too, its good. My friends and fans back home are great and supportive, they've reviewed it on iTunes, Twitter, Facebook and are really helping me get my message out there that I have music for people to listen to. The support I have back in Nash is amazing."

RTRD: Tell us a little bit about 'Otis' then.

JG: "Well, let me see... OK, 'Otis' is probably not what a lot of people who already know my music would expect, its more toward a listener's album than a specific style or approach that you might find from other musicians within the Americana genre where I find myself mentioned.

"The songs on 'Otis' are all there because there was a unique point somewhere that I noted and just took as inspiration to write about so there is no theme behind the album, no go-get-them message. Just a bunch of songs written from the heart about everyday stuff, with the point of their beginning being from everyday stuff. So its for you to listen to, is all.

"'Otis' is also the name of my granddaddy who is a guitar player although I only ever saw him play on a stage once. He is really a talented guitarist and my family is a musical family so it's a personal album too of a sort. I hope he likes it!"

RTRD: Do you have a favourite song on 'Otis'?

JG: "Yup, 'Little Bird'... sweet song."

RTRD: My favourite Jer Gregg songs are 'Butterflies', closely followed by 'Mr Acquitted' and 'It's Called Love', although I like 'Parachute' from 'Otis' too.

JG: "Wow, 'Butterflies' is an old one, right but you still remember it. Its so good to hear you like those, thanks.

Here's Jer's Reverbnation player for 'Butterflies', 'Mr Acquitted' and 'It's Called Love'...

RTRD: You are listed within the Americana genre, what does this mean about your music to you?

JG: "£Well, it doesn't mean that much to be honest, it just helps people know where to find me a bit more easily if you know what I mean? So, for example I was in Australia earlier this year on tour and music genre definitions are different from Nashville, to there and to here in the UK, the whole rock, blues, country thing has broader spectrums in different places. So the Americana genre, that's where you will find many rock, blues and country musicians but it is a really broad genre.

"I see my music as guitar orientated and with a guitar you do play rock and blues and yes, country a little too, there's so many ways to express yourself on a guitar of course you are going to visit those music styles. My music is guitar orientated, that's the core of it. Sort of Tom Petty meets the Black Crowes."

RTRD: What was the first song you ever played on guitar?

JG: "Metallica's 'Fade To Black'. I was walking past my big brother Noah's bedroom one day when I was 11 years old and he was playing that. WOW, I stopped right there and listened. I picked up a guitar not long after and that was the song I practised.

"You know when you're a kid and you are on auto-pilot, just doing as your parents say, going to school, not questioning much and accepting things around you just as is and being a kid? Well Metallica woke me up man, and they woke me up loud!"

RTRD: Anything else we need to know about Jer Gregg?

JG: "Man, I like tequila but after a while it doesn't like me – it's a truth serum in disguise folks, a touch too much of that and you can ask me anything!

"I hope I'm making America proud!" says Jer as he gets to grips with a British summer, t-shirt, shorts and – wellies at Latitude 2012.



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