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Meet the Artist: Jet Black Alley Cat

Catching up with a rising Nashville band.

Autumn Miller

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Five years ago, a few guys who had met in college discovered they had the same love for creating music. They began playing acoustic songs and now play shows across the country as a band called Jet Black Alley Cat (JBAC).

Nashville is the hub for country music in America and since JBAC is an alternative pop band, I was surprised to discover that it wasn’t difficult for the band to thrive in the predominately country environment.

At the beginning stages of the band’s life, Nashville was very heavily country influenced. But over the past few years, vocalist Joe Wilkinson says, “its developed in all kinds of markets. I have friends who are hip-hop artists and pop artists, so it’s really opened a door for us.”

Part One is the band’s debut album that was released in 2017, and I was interested to find out what their inspiration behind it was. The record, they say, was really an opportunity for the band to show everybody who they are. The songs were mainly influenced by what they were listening to at the time they formed.

Wilkinson: “It really was whatever we were feeling every song, that album feels a more that the songs are individual and it represents us a bit more.”

The band was able to showcase their talents and show what they have to offer, creating the music they wanted to create instead of trying to tell a story.

Since Part One, the band released Motel, an EP that went live in May of 2018. It featured a lot more interludes than Part One and seemed to be influenced by religion.

The EP tells a story and Wilkinson says, “it was a piece of time and a representation of how we were feeling all of last year.”

The way that the songs discuss God is more of a current moment thing, like Wilkinson had recently decided he had given up on religion. When I asked him if religion had influenced their music he says, “yes a lot, all of us come from Christian-based households and when we were growing up it was very demanded of us to be a part of those teachings.”

Now, their goal is to seek honesty and truth instead of “religion” and they’re trying to discover who they want to be.

The Motel EP has only seven songs, four of those being interludes or monologues, which add to the story effect. JBAC break up the more upbeat songs with the slowed down monologues.

Wilkinson says that some people were disappointed, “that was just us letting people know this is the song and here’s an intermission between them.”

“Miami,” “Foolish,” and “Night Life” are all similar in sound and topic and  the interludes serve as a nice change-up. 

“I don’t know if our band is one specific thing,” Wilkinson says. “I don’t try to define it very much at all and I just want whatever we’re feeling at the moment to come out.” 

JBAC has managed to come up with a way to intimately talk to fans through their Lovers USA Club, which gives them a platform to communicate with fans they didn’t know and had never met. About once every month-and-a-half, members receive a letter from the band and gives you the chance to send them messages. 

The band is currently working on new music, trying to get their songs in place and create something they are really proud of. An April or May set of 2019 tour dates is also in the works.

You can visit JBAC’s official website or follow them on Facebook

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Autumn Miller is a junior at the University of Kentucky majoring in Communications and Marketing. After college, she plans to get a job in Public Relations. She has a love for alternative music, concerts, and especially The 1975.

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