When you hear the music of Devin Jake for the first time, the thing that instantly strikes you is the voice. As authentic as an Appalachian bluegrass morning after and as earthily grounded as his small town Nebraska roots, Devin Jake’s voice is no hipster affectation, it’s in his bones.
That voice, an unique blend of classic bluegrass roots mixed with a mid-western country boy charm, pulls you in, entices you to pay attention and encourages you to listen a little more closely. Once you are listening, you are seduced into the lives of the people populating the stories revealed in his songwriting. Economic in form, classic in their themes, but slightly skewed in perspective, Devin Jake’s songs make the listener subconsciously aware that something else is going on in these seemingly straight forward stories of love and loss.
Real people are the heart of his songs, those with first-hand knowledge of what it means to risk and give everything for love, only to receive the reward of a broken heart. Devin’s voice perfectly captures that lonesome experience, yet, at the same time, his warm, gentle voice comforts the broken-hearted and delivers the promise that they will endure and will love again.
Hearing Devin Jake sing transports his listeners back in time to a place most have only read or heard about – a time where there’s a porch, a sunset and a family entertaining themselves and their closest neighborhood friends with their own hymn-based pickings and harmonies. Or, it’s an evening gathered around a small radio tuning the dial to get a clear sound of The Carter Family in their early prime.
Growing up in a small Nebraska town of under 200 people, Devin’s strongest musical influence was his mother. With very few possibilities for entertainment, she would sing and play guitar for Devin and his six siblings. “She used to sit in the bathroom while we took baths and sing to us, because she thought bath time was boring for us. She only played old country standards, so this was the only music I was exposed to when I was young.” Devin was the only child to carry on the family musical tradition. He learned to play guitar by learning to play the songs his mother sang, like the innocent, upbeat, country standard, “Apple Jack” and Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors,” among others.
After a college stint in Chicago, Devin first began performing publicly in 2005. Armed with a collection of original songs grounded in heartbreak and childhood memories, he began developing his performance skills, while continuing to write better and better songs. He wrote the song “Take Me Home” for his cancer-fighting step-mother after receiving a phone call letting him know she was ready to die. “Jesus Tell My Mamma” is an original song asking Jesus to make sure his mama thinks he’s doing alright, despite his very real personal struggles. Both of those songs wound up on his debut album, Jesus & Mama, which garnered two nominations at the 2013 Independent Music Awards, including “Best Country Album.” The song, “Anywhere Bound” wound up landing the “Americana Song of the Year” award.
His new record, Days Into Years, brilliantly follows up his award-winning debut with a new collection of songs exploring relationships, love, loss and heartbreak. Stephen Doster, who produced Jesus & Mama, returned as Producer for Days Into Years, recording once again at EAR Studio in Austin with James Stevens manning the boards.
Devin’s backing band for Days Into Years includes bluegrass darlings, The Carper Family, along with Sean Tracey, Ben Hodges and award-winning bluegrass artist, Rebecca Patek. Featuring nine new, self-penned originals and one cover, co-written by Brennen Leigh and John Scott Sherrill, Days Into Years promises to expand his audience with several songs, like “How Long,” “Walk Away” and “A Note On The Table,” among others feeling like potential break out hits.
The great thing about Devin’s songs, and especially his voice, is they invite his listeners to want to sing along. This a great quality for any songwriter or performer to possess, and Devin Jake has that quality in spades. As 2017 dawns, he will have a new record released, a new joint venture relationship with Austin-based, independent label Atticus Records and a new year to perform new songs to an expanding audience. Lovers of country, bluegrass and Americana music should keep Devin Jake on their musical radar, because 2017 promises to be the year when he rises above the competition to reach a wider audience.