If you like the Beatles, the Beach Boys, or Keith Urban, you will like John and Jacob.
Scott Register of Reg’s Coffee House on Birmingham Mountain Radio
John and Jacob is a Nashville-based band that recently played the major summer music festivals, including Bonnaroo, and is opening for Kacey Musgraves on her fall tour. Their self-titled debut album comes out on October 6 and we talked with the band about the album and Alabama music at The Hangout Festival.
The band is finding success in Nashville, but they wrote “Alabama is where we call home” on the liner notes. In “I’d Go Back,” they would go back to “country nights in Birmingham lit by candelight.” Four of the five members grew up in Pinson, Alabama including front men John Davidson and Jacob Bryant. Davidson and Bryant will be the grand marshal’s for this year’s Pinson Christmas parade.
“A lot of people are looking for someone to tell them what is cool and what to listen to,” says Bryant. “What they are looking for is right here in Alabama. Alabama has this thing going on that is still undiscovered.”
John and Jacob began as a rock band with John’s cousin Jake Thrasher on bass, and their first public performance was in a church in Pinson. They changed direction, switched to acoustic guitar, added drummer Trevor Davis, and wrote new songs. They moved to Nashville, added Austen Taylor Smith on guitar, signed a publishing deal with Major Bob Music, wrote the #1 song “Done” with The Band Perry, then self-produced their own album. Their song “Be My Girl” was featured on the television show Nashville.
The album officially comes out next week, but fans have bought it for months at the band’s live shows. It is an upbeat pop album of love and breakup songs with vocal harmonies, lively guitar, and catchy percussion and bass hooks. John and Jacob sounds best with all the windows down when each song is your favorite until the next one begins. The album kicks off with “rolling” and a count off into “Ride with Me” about driving to the coast and rolls into a Beatles-inspired “Breaking the Law” about making a girl forget the boyfriend because it “feels so good, it feels like breaking the law. “
The band recorded the album a year ago themselves with pro-tunes. “We tried to make it with other people but it didn’t work out,” says Davidson. “We made it in 12, 14, and 16 hour days with a lot of coffee and energy drinks. There was a steep learning curve and a lot of figuring out how to not make a record. There were times we had to completely separate ourselves from it, then come back and listen with fresh ears.”
Jacob Bryant and John Davidson (photos by Stephanie Drake)
Rolling Stone listed John and Jacob in their 2014 Bonnaroo Greatest Country Moments.
And festivalgoers who caught Birmingham, Alabama newcomer country duo John and Jacob later that day, at the New Music On Tap Lounge, might have been reminded of radio-friendly, mid-Nineties pop-rock like the Gin Blossoms or the Rembrandts (Yes, the Friends theme band!), when an Everly Brothers comparison is just as apt. A more rockin’ outfit live than on record, the band’s jangly, British Invasion-inspired ditty “Be My Girl” could have easily been a killer Dwight Yoakam cut.