All Aglow For Winter
The front man of the Victorian roots three-piece THE JED ROWE BAND attributes his musical inspiration to roots of his own: his dad who plays in a cover band and his mum who plays sax in a funk band. While their record collection gave early exposure to rock in the guise of Pink Floyd, Midnight Oil and Hendrix, Jed’s more recent muses include Robert Johnson and country siren Lucinda Williams.
Jed has been busy making arrangements for his forthcoming tour. The band will be showcasing their second album The Ember And The Afterglow, which was recorded using a very different process from that of their debut Midnight Sun. “The new album was recorded on tape with the band all playing together instead of recording instruments individually. This gives it more of a live feel and the special sound that tape provides. You have to listen to the recordings and commit yourself to one take.”
Song themes come from real life, people Jed knows and novels. “Some songs have a Victorian setting. While songwriting does tend to reflect your surroundings, the Victorian influence was not a conscious thing. Sometimes it’s hard to say what the origin of a particular song was.”
Blues and roots great Jeff Lang played a big mentoring role in this album. “Jeff’s experience in recording was a great help, taking the pressure off me and creating the right frame of mind in the band to make the playing flow.”
Other special touches came from Liz Stringer and Suzannah Espie. “Liz added the banjo that was so essential to Across The Water. Suzannah’s backing vocals provided harmonies that varied from a sensitive country flavour to some funky soul.”
The track This Love Divine has a spectacular string arrangement, the inspiration for which came to Jed in his sleep. “I woke up at 3am with the melody and the bulk of the lyrics in my head. So I got on the computer to put it down and grabbed a guitar for a quick demo.” The string section was put together by Michael Arvanitakis, who “knew a few good string players and assembled a few friends. I didn’t even know if the string arrangement, my first, would even work.”
I asked Jed about his most unusual show. “I was playing upstairs in a restaurant. The management kept asking me to turn the sound down to the point that I switched the PA off and played pure acoustic. Then this incredibly loud rock band started up at a wedding reception venue below. I was drowned out but the management didn’t bat an eyelid.”
The Jed Rowe Band will warm your heart when they play at The Front in June. Jed likes the venue, as “It reminds me of some bohemian hangouts in Melbourne.”
Hang out with The Jed Rowe Band on Thursday June 28 at The Front Café and Gallery. The show starts at 7.30pm and entry is $10 at the door.