In a time when Nashville strives to manufacture crossover artists who can appeal to both country and rock audiences, the multi-talented, Florida born and raised performer RICHARD JAYMES has been doing the hybrid thing naturally and effortlessly since launching his original first band, Soko-short for Southern Comfort.
Finally embracing his destiny as a solo artist, Jaymes is a seriously multi-tasking musical force of nature who wrote, recorded and produced all 10 tracks on his debut album Dollar And A Dream at his home studio. From Cuban and Cherokee descent, Jaymes' talents are as diverse as his background. On the CD, he played guitars, keyboards, banjo and percussion-and did the dynamic mix himself after a few attempts at having veteran mixers go at it. As a songwriter, he is unafraid to speak his mind and address important issues in these crazy times.
While he could have played it safe by introducing the world to his music with one of the romantic-minded tracks on the collection, the singer's opening salvo is the bold and rocking title track, "Dollar and A Dream," the CD's first single, which addresses all the key issues of the current economic crisis: the Wall Street meltdown, corporate greed, high deficits, government bailouts and living beyond our means.
The lyrical edginess Jaymes brings to his songs is complemented throughout the 10-track recording with a loose, raw and rootsy musical vibe. "What I like about Dollar and A Dream," he says, "is that it's not squeaky clean on the production side, it's not perfect and slickly polished, and it's accessible, but not in a tidy little creative box." He continues: "What I've always loved about the blues and other roots music is that it's okay to let little mistakes go, and those become part of the joy and charm of the recording. That goes for my vocals, too. I've always loved artists like Janis Joplin, where it's not the technical perfection but the raw soul of how you sing the song that matters."
Jaymes has been sharing that "raw soul" over the years with numerous fans of his two bands, Soko-which was signed with Big Beat/Atlantic-and, in recent years, the southern rock outfit Prey For Green, which he launched while living in Virginia before settling in his home state of Florida.
The son of parents he calls hippies, the Miami born, Ft. Lauderdale raised Jaymes began playing guitar at age 12. He played in church and different rock bands in high school before forming Soko with some friends when he was 19. His household was filled with an incredible variety of music that influenced the development of his own creative aesthetic. His parents listened to everyone from Charlie Daniels, and Stevie Wonder to Merle Haggard and The Doobie Brothers; his dad was a huge Eagles and Marshall Tucker fan; and his grandmother was hooked on Hank Williams, Sr. Jaymes cites his first live performance as a biographical classroom presentation of Hank, Jr.; dressed in a beard and a hat.
Jaymes' current endeavors in country music are also a tribute to the power of dreams. He and his current manager and friend since high school Richard Walkowiak, talked long ago about the possibility of merging their talents to make a mark in the music industry. While both have had their share of accolades on a smaller scale, with the release of Dollar and A Dream, they're taking their passion all the way. The culmination of their dream in 2009 is going to inspire and delight fans of country music who want a little blues-rock fire with their twang--and a lot of truth and bite in the hooks they'll no doubt be singing over and over.
"As I started writing more and more songs," Jaymes says, "my first inclination was to shoot for a publishing deal and start writing for other artists. I knew I had a lot to offer either way, but as I started circulating my demos, I began getting very encouraging industry feedback. Rather than give my songs away, I became determined to develop my own style and share them with the world myself. I'm really excited about the upcoming release of Dollar and A Dream and can't wait to share what I do with more people, through both the CD and my first ever solo performances after so many years of playing in bands. This is a very exciting time in my life."