Musician Jim Vest just released his fourth album, “Memoirs of my Father’s Son,” and is getting ready to hit the road for his first out-of-state tour. Vest has been writing since boyhood, inspired by the struggles of Appalachian life and the grit of reality, and the rustic landscape that frames his journey. Vest took the time to answer some of our questions about life, his music and the tour.
1. When did you first become interested in music?
I grew up around music, my grandpa played just about every string instrument you can imagine and harmonica. I had interests in it, and when I was 14 I learned my first chords on guitar, courtesy of my Uncle and it just took off from there.
2. Who or what inspires you to create?
My grandpa is a huge inspiration and I had a big ground-breaking experience when I discovered artists like Elliott Smith and Bright Eyes. As far as ‘what,’ I would just say my personal experiences have lead me to writing songs and creating my music.
3. How would you describe your style?
My music has a lot of diverse lyricism, I write a lot of different things lyrically but it has a central theme of struggles I’ve faced. I try to experience with the different sounds I can get and not stay within the constraints of any one style. It always comes back to singer-songwriter. My early music was strictly acoustic, but this is my fourth album and I’ve grown into more of a folk-rock sound.
4. You just put out a music video for your song, “Memoirs of my Father’s Son,” can you tell us about the process of creating a project like that?
I released my third album, “The Big Sleep,” in December and we released a video for “Window,” and this was a lot like that. My manager and I created the idea, and we wanted to display a full-band feel. My friends Judd Hynes and Jordan Lombardo accompanied me on trumpet and drums. We went to the Markay theatre and filmed in all in about two hours.
5. You’re getting ready to hit the road and go on tour, what are you anticipating most?
This is the first tour I’ve done outside the state of Ohio, I’ve toured all over the state but this is the first where I’ve gone beyond that. I’m not anticipating the drive, but I am looking forward to meeting new people and hopefully making a connection with them so they can feel something by listening to the music that I make. I’ve got a few days off on the tour too so I’ll have some time to look around and explore as well.
6. How do you balance music with other obligations — relationships, children, jobs?
It’s tough, it really is. In all actuality, making time for my son isn’t as difficult as you’d think it’d be. I spend as much time with him as I can and he doesn’t ask for much, he’s getting ready to turn one. As far as relationships go, I’ve always had the mind to do things musically, and whatever down time I have is spent with my son. I’m still figuring out the balance.
7. What are some of your best memories of performing?
A lot of them come early. When I was in high school, I was in a punk band called ‘Mirage of Logic,’ and we played a little benefit show for a fan of the local music scene who had passed away. I just remember feeling very emotional and into the moment, and we started smashing all of our instruments. Everyone was dumbfounded, they’d never seen anything like that. I’ve always enjoyed the times I’ve spent in bands, there are always interesting things that happen. With my solo stuff, I’ve always had a thing with going on after a heavier band and being able to quiet a room, and leave a lasting impression on the people because you don’t sound like everyone else. It’s heart-warming to know that they listening to you and come up to you after the show and hug you even though you’re sweaty and tell you how much the show meant to them.
8. What personal advice would you give someone wanting to make a career in music?
Pursue it full force. Don’t let anybody else interrupt you or hinder you.
9. Where can someone buy or check your music?
You can find my earlier albums on BandCamp, you can just look up “Jim Vest” and they’ll all be on there. Other than that, come to a show and buy a physical copy. My new record will be available on ITunes, Amazon, and all that on July 9.
10. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I hope to see familiar faces and lots of new faces at the Markay Theatre on July 9 at 8 p.m. for the release. Anthony Mossberg is going to open up the show and he’s really good at what he does. It’s going to be a great time. Pre-sale tickets are $15 and they’re $17 at the door. You can buy them online at markaytickets.org or from me, just contact me through my Facebook page, “Jim Vest Music.”
The Markay is the first stop on Vest’s tour.
His tour schedule is as follows:
Tuesday July 12 – Grand Rapids, Michigan
Wednesday July 13 – Flint, Michigan
Thursday July 14 – Canton, Ohio
Friday July 15 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Saturday July 16 – Clarksburg, West Virginia
Sunday July 17 – Columbus, Ohio
Monday July 18 – Cincinnati, Ohio
Tuesday July 19 – Louisville, Kentucky
Wednesday July 20 – Nashville, Tennessee
Friday July 22 – Urbana, Ohio
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara