(Photo courtesy of Jay Pollman’s Instagram)
There’s something to say about musicians whose roots are imbedded in small towns, especially Canadian artists, who use that to their lyrical capabilities. Modest, and relatable, you find yourself stuck between wanting to get out and wanting to appreciate every small thing and place your tiny little community has to offer. Just knowing that someone was able to make art in such a mundane space feels empowering and almost brag worthy. Jay Pollmann is no exception.
With a résumé as appealing as any admirable Canadian artist, Pollmann started out in a band. A great band. A band that toured North America and had four studio albums. For 10 years, GRUVE, fronted by Pollmann as lead vocalist and guitarist, played countless festivals, house shows, bars and pig roasts, across southern, Ontario. But like all great things, GRUVE, came to an end.
Jay Pollmann wasn’t done writing music though. In 2013, he took his own bull by the horns, a saying I feel is remarkably fitting for his foot stompin’ rootsy blues, and started his solo career. A move that would not only land him an opportunity to share a stage with Canadian singer/songwriter Joel Plaskett, but would produce his first studio album as Jay Pollmann, an EP titled, “Head In The Clouds”.
Kicking off the 7 track album is Steerin’ With My Knees, a song that I related to Robert Frost’s, The Road Not Taken, without the regret. Lots of foot stompin’ to get you in the mood Pollman clearly wants you to be in while listening to this album, he talks about the high road as if it were the only road. The title track, Head In the Clouds, is riddled with so many different sounds and vocals that intertwine to make a song tethering on the edge of a drink or dance move. Almost as if on cue, with the magic hand of a man that plays his instruments so well, including acoustic accompanied by brass slide, you will find yourself ready to stomp along to a sound so authentic you can’t compare it to any other.
There is a reverberation of nostalgia to the album, though. Loose Lips Sink Ships, one of my favourite tracks, felt so familiar, I had to add up the metaphors to find the equation: Pollman is so vocally in place, so lyrically set, that the familiarity of some of these songs isn’t so much that I’ve heard them before, but they are something I’ve wanted to hear. Every song on this album might just leave you with a similar feeling. A feeling like this is where you should be. (Isn’t that how roots work? I think it’s no coincidence.)
Before the curtain closes, you will get a taste of what it really feels like living in a small town, especially in good ol’ Onatrio, he will point out, that has you rooted to it’s old haunts. Watering Hole is a reminder that some things just end, without warning, but there’s always somewhere to go, even if you’re not sure where, something I took away from the song without it having to be mentioned. I think Jay Pollmann is headed in the right direction either way.
Head In The Clouds will be released on January 13, with a release party at The Baltimore House in Hamilton, Ontario, at 9pm. It’s sure to be a stompin’ time.
For more information, check out Jay’s website, http://www.jaypollmann.com/.
For Fans of: Nathaniel Rateliff, Joel Plaskett, Jonathan Tyler.