Jason Webley isn't your normal folkster. And you might be asking yourself, "Well, what the hell's a 'normal' folkster, anyway?" Damned if we know. But he sure as hell isn't it. The singer-songwriter forgoes the requisite Martin acoustic, the upright piano, or even the quirky but not entirely commonplace fiddle for an accordion. But his unique style doesn't just stop at his instrument of choice. His songwriting blend of folk with much more aggressive alt-rock tendancies bears a signature even more distinctive than his means of arriving by it.
Crossfade recently got a chance to put a few questions to Webley, before his Memorial Day gig at Jazid with Radioboxer, to try to get just a bit of insight on what makes the musician tick.
New Times: You have a really unique sound. Not only do you combine alternative and folk styles in an interesting way, but you put an accordion up front. How'd you stumble onto your sound?
Webley: It is a bit embarrassing, but I started playing accordion with no real knowledge of the instrument or the ways it was used. My influences were largely the punk rock stuff I listened to as a kid, filtered through a few years studying composition and theater music at the University of Washington. I started playing accordion for a play I was working on at the end of my time there.
What's your inspiration?
I love folks who put out tons of energy onstage. I've only seen a few that have really truly blown me away. The Blind Boys of Alabama and the punk band NoMeansNo are a couple that come to mind. I also love songwriters who make it their work to write songs that somehow reach out towards God, like a radio antenna or an umbilical chord.
You're no stranger to recording. You've done quite a bit of it over the past 13 years. Are there plans for another record in the near future?
I have a live album recorded that will be coming out very shortly. I don't have specific recording plans beyond that.
You were down here last year. For those that missed you, what can Miami's music lovers expect from a Jason Webley show?
I'm not very good at describing what I do.... I play the guitar, the accordion and a plastic vodka bottle full of pennies. And people usually have a very good time at my shows.
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You're just generally a road warrior, though, right? Care to share any favorite moments from life on tour?
That's too broad a question! Every day I'm in another place with another crowd of people. This year I keep ending up in crazy spots. I was in Tucson when the shootings happened and in Christchurch, New Zealand during the earthquake. Hoping not to bring any catastrophes to Florida.
Jason Webley performs with Radioboxer on Monday, May 30 at Jazid (1342 Washington Ave.) at 9pm. Cover is $5.