Friday, November 13, 2009

Jacob Abello Delivers Gold

Jacob Abello
Jacob Abello has been teasing the masses with a trail of gold nuggets since he posted “We’re So Young” on his Myspace what might seem like ages ago. But finally, he is sharing his songwriting pot of gold with his debut album appropriately titled Nothing But Gold.
Party anthems, love stories and what sounds like alcohol-induced confessions glitter up Gold with an honest portrayal of Abello’s life. Admittedly, he spouts out stories on this album like “word vomit” and depicts his voyage from a 20-something rejecting his naive roots to finding new footing on his new stomping ground in Norman, Oklahoma.
Abello has a long history of songwriting. Back in high school, he garnered a lot of attention for his early pop songs from Christian record labels. He was back and forth between Nashville, Tennessee, and his hometown of Tuttle, Oklahoma, demoing for A&R representatives for most of high school. But as he familiarized himself with that industry, he eventually lost his desire to be a part of the Christian music scene.
“I started demoing songs for them, but as I got older, I wasn’t feeling too good about Christianity overall,” Abello said. “I got exposed to this whole industry that was so corrupt than even the secular music industry. I got really turned off by it and was done with music for a while.”
It was once he broke free of the pressures of the industry that he started to find his real voice.
• Where: Brothers, 563 Buchanan Street, in Norman
• Openers: Sherree Chamberlain & The Pretty Black Chains
“There’s was no pressure after that,” he said. “You know, for a while my audience was a couple Christian A&R guys in Nashville, and it was really tough. They were like ‘Write another song like this’ and my response would be ‘But I already wrote that song, and I don’t want to write another one like that.’ Then, I just started writing, and I was writing for me.”
He had no plans to record any of this material, but eventually he wrote one song he really loved that he called “People Need People.” Abello played the song for Jarod Evans, a producer and personal friend from Blackwatch Studios, and he immediately wanted to record the song. Eventually, Abello started writing the rest of the material that became Gold.
“Some of the songs on this record I wrote when I was a senior in high school,” he said. “A lot of it is about growing up in a church and being really conservative. It’s a lot about finding what I really believe through life experiences. At that age, it’s really about breaking away from your family and really experiencing things for yourself. Like things you really thought were wrong before – sometimes, you realize they are actually good. It’s about finding out who you are, and figuring things out for yourself rather than just believing everything that people tell you.”
Gold is sprinkled with Biblical references that openly expose that personal evolution.
“I really like all these songs. They really do document a journey from the age of 18 to 21. It’s not a stable time in anyone’s life – you’re really just trying to figure it all out. It’s a really personal thing: it’s me putting myself on display with all of my shit. But I think this is all beautiful, and it could be related to anybody. To me, it’s just about growing up.”
Now that the album is complete and finally being release (the original record release date was missed due to a delay on the mixing), Abello is prepared to immerse himself in the music scene to get this record heard.
With the slew of big names backing up the Abello hype, Gold is a record bound to raise some brows. The album includes the sounds of Justin Meldal-Johnson of Beck and Nine Inch Nails, James McAlister of Sufjan Stevens and Pedro the Lion – and appearances by local staples like Ryan Lindsey, Brine Webb, Evangelicals’ Josh Jones and Starlight Mints’ Allan Vest.
“I’ve made so many friends in past 2 or 3 years that I never thought existed because I grew up in a really isolated town,” Abello said. “The process of this album has really been guided by some of these people I’ve met that are all so accepting and honest. On this record, I really try to be honest and venerable – that’s nice, because I really grew holding it all in.”
With the record industry in such a questionable and unstable state, it’s difficult to say if this album will ever become a major label release. But with the power of the Internet and music blogs, Abello’s primary focus is just getting his music out to listeners.
“The fans have so much more power than they used to,” he said. “It’s so much more organic and it’s so much more romantic, too. The fans are working to find music that they like, and they make the decisions.”
There’s no doubt plenty of indie rock listeners will soon be cashing in on the gold mine that’s ever-so-elegantly woven into Jacob Abello’s Nothing But Gold.
Natalie Wright

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