Last year Noisey premiered Jason Eady’s self-titled album, a record that delicately approached some of life’s more difficult situations like being guilty of a crime and watching an innocent man go to jail for it. It was a somber record, but apt for the time. Luckily, Eady didn't stay in that headspace too long.
On August 10 he'll release I Travel On, and today we’re premiering his latest song “Calaveras County,” which Eady told Noisey was inspired by a festival he played there last year. The northern part of East California is populated by national parks and the folks who live there are tough but generous in a frontier sort of way. They look out for their own, but if you need help they’re happy to oblige. But the song was also inspired by a childhood trip that found Eady and his family stranded on the side of the road in the Mojave Desert after running out of gas.
“My dad had to hitchhike to get to the nearest gas station that was 30 miles away,” Eady says. “The man who picked him up was an old hippie who drove a VW bug with every panel painted a different color. Not only did that man drive my dad to get gas but also drove him the 30 miles back to us and refused to take a penny for it. It was a true act of selfless generosity and it always stayed with me. I’ve always wanted to get that guy into a song and this was the perfect chance to do it."
For his new album, Eady says he switched gears. “We [Eady and the band] went in with the idea of a bluegrass top end and an R&B/groove bottom end with my wife Courtney Patton adding her powerful harmonies that cross all genres.” You can hear her on “Calaveras County. Instead of arranging a song around what he wrote, Eady says for this record he settled on the sound first, then wrote around it, giving it a cohesive sound that feels weighted with meaning. “In order to keep the roots feel that we wanted then we decided to track live with no punches or overdubs. So what you hear on this record is what each song sounded like as it went down, from top to bottom. The whole thing came together in a way that I hope is unique and strong but still accessible roots music.”