Image: Kristin Barlowe
New York based, Americana troubadours, JD & the Straight Shot, released their sixth studio album on September 15, 2017, and it is pure joy!
“Good Luck and Good Night”, is an all acoustic album filled with track after track of beautifully arranged blues ballads, spiritual and inspirational stories of redemption and celebration of the American life, lightly sprinkled with a complementary nod to our classic rockers and with the addition of the children’s choir in “Good Luck and Good Night” just puts it over the top “Good”.
Listeners will be immediately captured by the breathtaking harmonies and “stop and take it in” violin solos that are predominate throughout each track. There is such a perfectly balanced chemistry among these very talented players that it makes me wonder if this album was recorded in a science lab instead of a music studio. The album and the artists are both infectious and addicting.
JD & the Straight Shot and their individual members have performed and toured with national and international well-known acts throughout their lifetimes; their music and talent can be found credited in the television and film industry; once you hear this album, it will be easy to understand why they are very attractive to these various media and entertainment sources.
I had the chance to interview violinist and vocalist, Erin Slaver, to find out more about this ensemble and where they are headed in the future. You can find our written interview that talks about the individual artists, their dedication and inspiration when to comes to producing nothing less than perfection, some of their favorite venues and audiences and what is coming up around the corner.
JD& the Straight Shot is currently touring throughout the United States and in October they will head over to Europe and continue to tour with the American great rock icons, The Doobie Brothers!
You can keep up with JD & the Straight Shot, and their individual members on social media, purchase their newest and past released albums and find their touring schedule on their website: www.jdandthestraightshot.com and find their music on all reputable online music service sites, such as You Tube, Spotify and iTunes and Amazon.
JD & the Straight Shot is:
Jim Dolan – vocalist/guitarist
Byron House – bassist
Erin Slaver – violinist/fiddler/backup vocals
Marc Copely – guitarist
Shawn Pelton – drums
Good Luck and Good Night Track Listing:
- Redemption Train
- Ballad Of Jacob Marley
- I Know You Know I Know
- Run For Me
- Good Luck And Good Night
- It’s Your World Now
- Never Alone
Siege / BackStage360
BackStage360 submitted the following questions to the band which were answered from JD & The Straight Shot’s Fiddler / Violinist / Back-Up singer Erin Slaver:
BackStage360 – The band members all come from a very eclectic backgrounds. Can you tell us what brought you all together, as a whole, to create JD & the Straight Shot?
ES – Over the years, JD & The Straight Shot (founded by our lead singer – JD) has gone through several transformations. Our current “dream team” consists of Marc Copely (our musical director, lead guitarist and producer), Byron House (bass), Shawn Pelton (drums) and myself on fiddle/violin/back-up vocals. I joined the band after meeting Marc who moved to Nashville several years ago. We had both worked as musicians on the ABC television show “Nashville” and had some mutual friends. He heard me play and sing, and thought I would be perfect for the band. Throughout the years, the band has made changes in players to complement our rootsy, acoustic style, resulting in a combination or diverse musicians all with a unifying central force of roots influence in our playing, whether it be jazz, bluegrass, or country — it all adds up to Americana.
BackStage360 – With regards to the release of “Good Luck And Good Night” that just came out on September 15th, which is your sixth studio album, front man Jim Dolan has been quoted as saying “We pushed ourselves harder than ever before on this album…” In what ways do you feel this album differs from all of your previous releases?
ES – We had a pretty high standard set from our last record “Ballyhoo!” that we wanted to try and match (heck – even top)… so no one was settling for mediocrity. We probably recorded our single “Run For Me” 10 different ways before we had a basic track that we felt was going to do the song justice. We had a lot of productive band meetings where we would all just listen to the tracks together and make suggestions, – and then we would TRY them all. It didn’t matter if everyone agreed, we knew everyone’s ideas were worth trying. In the end, having an open mind and the diligence to put that kind of effort in, made an incredible difference. But it was hard work – no one in the band was just sitting back and letting everyone else pick up the slack. We were all heavily involved. One main difference from our last record was that Marc Copely produced Good Luck And Good Night. He provided a very intimate and familiar ear guiding the sound. We also spent some time touring and playing a lot of these new songs live before we took them into the studio; we wanted the music to feel “lived in”… By the time we were making the record, we all had a pretty good sense of what what was going to work and what wasn’t.
BackStage360 – JD & The Straight Shot has performed with and opened for quite a few national and international touring acts. What is your favorite performance venue? Why was it your favorite? And can you tell us the largest crowd capacity?
ES – Large venues are exciting to perform in, and we’ve opened up for well-known bands in some pretty massive ones. But I’d say my absolute favorite venues are small and intimate, like the bar we played in Santa Rosa, where everyone danced to our cover of Its a Beautiful Day’s -‘White Bird’ like it was 1969 at Woodstock… or maybe the record shop we played in Indiana that turned into a music venue at night, where the whole town sat quietly in folding chairs and listened to every word we sang like it was scripture. Those shows are what create the best memories for us and are often the most rewarding as well.
BackStage360 – JD & The Straight Shot are billed predominately as an Americana band although I have read that your influences are as eclectic as your members. What is it about the Americana genre/style of music that inspires your writing and keeps you releasing all acoustic albums?
ES – To me, the beauty of an “Americana band” is the melding of “influences as eclectic as its members”. We are all musicians influenced by some sort of American roots music, albeit blues, jazz, rock, country, or bluegrass. But the combination of these styles and players turns out to manifest itself in a pretty cool way. It also lends itself to the acoustic style, highlighting vocal harmonies and the instruments (like banjo, fiddle, and mandolin) that we often associate with the roots style of playing.
BackStage360 – Several of the tracks on “Good Luck And Good Night” tell tales of inspirational truths and lean towards the gospel side of Americana filled with amazing harmonies and violin solos. For those of us that are new listeners to JD & The Straight Shot, are these types of stories a usual trend in your music and performances?
ES – Absolutely. There is always a story to be found within our songs. We believe our primary goal as troubadours is to present our listeners with an album that is both thought-provoking and sonically enjoyable.
BackStage360 – Your music can be credited on several film and television sound tracks. Is this something that the band actively pursues, or is it a case of producers approaching you with various opportunities? What do you think makes your music appealing to film and TV production companies and creators?
ES – Some of those songs were written specifically for the films, so the subject matter was already mapped out for us. But the appeal to most would have to be our unique sound, with JD’s deep, mysterious vocals and Marc’s vibey guitar accompaniment, the music just begs for movie placement.
BackStage360 – JD & The Straight Shot is currently on tour with rock icons The Doobie Brothers here in the States and then will continue touring with them in Europe to promote the release of “Good Luck And Good Night”. What can we expect to see/hear from the band at your live shows?
ES – We take our performances very seriously and always strive to sound our best. Before we go on stage we like to stand in a circle and sing through our harmonies, just to make sure everything is sounding good! So what i’m saying is fans can expect just pure perfection…;P ha! Well, at least they can expect to have a lot of fun. Oh, and there will be some foot-stomping, hand-clapping, down-home old-fashioned good-time MUSIC.