Jason Crigler
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Jason Crigler


Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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..Natural vocal delivery and lyric style, strong and straight ahead sound of the guitars, rhythm section work well with the melody, vocal.. Sounds like you've been playing some gigs in HYC and vicinity.. Your confident vocal and lyrics ("part way between the earth and the sky" (from the "Bush and the Tree Song, Pt. 1" )) are the foundation here, more than any distinctive or indelible title/chorus melody, hook. - Taxi

"Norah Jones to Headline Benefit Concert for Jason Crigler"

BMI singer/songwriter Norah Jones will headline a benefit concert for ailing guitarist and friend Jason Crigler, who suffered a brain aneurysm last year (2004). The line-up will feature Jones and her Handsome Band, along with fellow New York musicians and friends Dennis Brennan, Amy Correia and Rachel Loshak at Irving Plaza on Tuesday, January 25 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $60 and are available at the Irving Plaza box office or online at CC.com. All proceeds will go directly to Jason and his family.

One of the most sought after musicians in New York City, Jason is one of the founding members of Goats in Trees and has played alongside renowned artists such as Linda Thompson, John Cale, Marshall Crenshaw, Teddy Thompson, Juliana Nash and Edison Woods, among many others. His first solo CD, Down Like Hail, recorded before his illness was discovered last summer, features Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann, Graham Parker, Sleepy LaBeef) on bass and Dan Rieser (Jesse Harris, Norah Jones, Marcy Playground) on drums. This is the second benefit concert for Jason; the first was held in October at the Living Room and raised over $15,000.

Here's what Norah Jones has to say about her good friend Jason Crigler: "Everyone who has ever had the pleasure of playing with Jason will know how special he can make it feel and sound, and what a magical cast he helps to create within all the music he plays.

"Jason's upward musical path was interrupted last August 6th (2004), when a bleeding in his brain was discovered. Jason has been in the hospital since then, and has endured many ups and downs in his recovery. Jason is in rehab now, after spending several months in the intensive care, and is starting to heal and regain his strength.

"This concert is an effort to show support for Jason, and help him and his family deal with the huge financial hurdles they are facing now, and those still to come in the future, while Jason is on his road to recovery. As friends and musicians who have worked with Jason, it is a chance to give back with our music, a little of what he has given to us from his heart." - BMI


One of the most sought after musicians in New York City, Jason Crigler is one of the founding members of Goats in Trees and has played alongside renowned artists such as Linda Thompson, John Cale, Marshall Crenshaw, Teddy Thompson, among many others. His first solo CD, Down Like Hail, features bassist Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann, Graham Parker, Sleepy LaBeef) and drummer Dan Rieser (Jesse Harris, Norah Jones, Marcy Playground). Here’s what Norah Jones says about her good friend: “Everyone who has ever had the pleasure of playing with Jason will know how special he can make it feel and sound, and what a magical cast he helps to create within all the music he plays.” His solo CD Down Like Hail is available here.

1. Which was the first record you bought with your own money?
It was either a Huey Lewis album or a Billy Joel record. The Huey record was probably Sports — I remember being into that at one time. The Billy Joel record was probably The Stranger — another good one. Soon after those two guys, I started getting really into blues music and I bought a bunch of Muddy Waters, Albert Collins, Howlin Wolf, and Robert Johnson’s King of the Delta Blues Singers. That’s an amazing record. I actually bought that on cassette when I was in England long ago. The blues has definitely stayed with me over the years. I still listen to it and get inspired by it.

2. Which was the last record you bought with your own money?
Bob Dylan’s Modern Times. I just got it the other day. Dylan sounds great and, as usual, he has a killing band behind him. I love Dylan, and I especially love his later records — Love and Theft and Time Out of Mind. They sound really good, and there’s lots of great, tasteful playing.
I also recently bought Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise — a great record in a totally different way from Dylan. Really well arranged, and beautiful songs.

3. What was the first solo you learned from a record — and can you still play it?
Well, I was never really so into sitting down and learning people’s solos note for note. It always seemed somehow wrong to me, like I was plagiarizing or something. I preferred to just try and get the essence of what someone was doing — the vibe of it — without learning it note for note.
I have learned some solos here and there, when it’s a really great solo that I just have to know. There’s a live Eric Clapton concert in Birmingham — from 1986, I think — with Phil Collins, Greg Philinganes, and Nathan East. Clapton’s solo on “Crossroads” is incredible, and I did sit and learn it note for note. I think I could still play it now. It’s totally tasteful and super powerful, and it’s got an amazing shape to it. It builds in really cool ways. I was amazed that he came up with that on the spot.

4. Which recording of your own (or as a sideman) are you most proud of, and why?
I’d have to say that I’m most proud of my solo record, Down Like Hail. I love the way it was recorded, which was all completely live to tape. I love that it was recorded to 1/4-inch, 2-track tape, which gives it an old-school kind of vibe. Paul Bryan and Dan Rieser play on it, and they’re both amazing players — so grooving and soulful, and they sound great together. Greg Duffin did a great job engineering.

5. What's the difference between playing live and playing in a studio?
I think there’s a certain kind of energy when you’re performing in front of an audience that is special and unique. It can push you to do things you wouldn’t have thought of. It’s very exciting. There can be great energy in the studio too, of course, but it’s a little different knowing you can always go back and fix things. At a gig, there’s a feeling of “this is it!”.

6. What's the difference between a good gig and a bad gig?
A good gig makes me feel ecstatic, like everything is right with the world. With a good gig I feel like I have a purpose in life, I feel like I’m doing something meaningful, and I can’t wait to do it again. A bad gig totally takes the wind out of my sails. It can get pretty dark — sometimes I just feel like giving up music completely. I’ve had a string of good gigs lately, so that feels nice.

7. What's the difference between a good guitar and a bad guitar?
The interesting thing is, it often has nothing to do with price. I’ve played some rather expensive “nice” guitars that left me feeling flat, while I’ve had some magical experiences on guitars I’ve gotten for not very much money. My Epiphone Casino — which was like five or six hundred dollars — was my number-one guitar for a long time. My main guitar now is a cheap Squire Telecaster that I’ve done a lot of work to. New pickups, different neck, and so on. Basically, a good guitar responds well to what you’re doing and you feel like you have room on it to do things. A bad guitar kind of shuts you down. You feel like you’re getting nothing back from it. It’s like a bad investment — you get no return.

8. You play electric and acoustic. Do you approach the two different - Adam Levy


"Guitarist Jason Crigler was easily the most original aspect of the band, enhancing the delicate arrangements with a playing style that takes the tone of a spaghetti western, the double-picking techniques of surf rock and the sound of Martin Tielli's signature playing style to create a listening experience of his own." Neil haverty - Umbrella Music - ABOUT JASON CRIGLER


Jason Crigler Band "Down Like Hail" - 2007
Goats in Trees "Smoke and Mirrors" - 2002
Edison Woods "Edison Woods" - 2002
Goats in Trees "When the Morning Comes" - 1998



Persevering through hard times is one of the greatest and most eternal themes of blues and soul music. Jason Crigler, a New York based singer/songwriter and highly sought out guitarist has always found inspiration in that music, but little did he know how that he would endure and win a battle for his life that would give the toughest bluesman a run for his money. His new album, Down Like Hail, is a riveting document of a musician playing for the sheer love of it, but it also is the testament of someone who has played for the biggest stakes of all - his own life.

Jason made his reputation as one of the most sought after guitarists in New York through his work in the band Goats in Trees (which he formed with his wife Monica) and by playing with such luminaries as Linda Thompson, John Cale, Marshall Crenshaw, Teddy Thompson, Juliana Nash and Edison Woods. In 2003, Jason began to play under his own name, and began the process of recording what would become Down Like Hail. By the middle of 2004, Jason was excited about upcoming plans for recording and touring, and was even more thrilled about becoming a father, as Monica was expecting their first child.

Then things took a drastic turn. Jason recounts:

"It was August 6, 2004. I was playing a gig and after the first couple of songs all of a sudden things got really weird - everything sounded and felt very distant. It got so freaky I had to leave the stage. Thank God Monica was there. I couldn't hear anything. I finally lay down on the ground and that's the last thing I remember for a year and a half."

What Jason had was AVM, a collection of abnormal blood vessels in the brain, which then burst, like an aneurysm. The threat to Jason’s life was very real, and initially, the doctors didn't give Jason much, if any chance to recover. ("They made a lot of doomsday predictions that turned out to be wrong," says Jason.) He went through three different hospitals, various surgeries and even when it became apparent that Jason would survive, there was no guarantee that he’d ever walk again, let alone be a working musician.

It was a grim prognosis for Jason, both medically and financially, but it was then that his friends stepped in. In January of 2005, Norah Jones, who Jason had met and played with for years when they were both sitting in night after night at the Living Room, announced that she was headlining a benefit show for Jason at Irving Plaza, a show that raised over $50,000 for Jason's medical expenses. Norah said about Jason in announcing the show, "Everyone who has ever had the pleasure of playing with Jason will know how special he can make it feel and sound, and what a magical cast he helps to create within all the music he plays."

With support from family and friends, Jason was on his long journey back. And after almost 18 months of intense physical therapy in which he had to struggle to relearn such basic actions as walking and talking, in early of January 2006, Jason was well enough to begin playing guitar again - but that was an immense challenge. As Jason recounts, "Because of the bleeding I had, initially I could barely get my fingers to play. After 10 minutes I would have to stop. I saw a physical therapist, which helped, and by April, I sat in with Teddy Thompson. I played one song - it was tiring, but I did it. And then, on my birthday, May 27th, I was playing with Rachel Loshak, and it all came together. I was overjoyed."

Now, in 2007, Jason has readied the release of Down Like Hail, an album that he recorded prior to his illness, but one that with it’s blues spirit, portends much of what Jason endured with his illness. He explains, "To me, it's an album about the blues. There aren't any actual blues songs, but the approach to the album and the influences come out from my love of blues and old soul. It was all recorded live - no overdubs. Me and my guys (Paul Bryan on bass and Dan Rieser on drums) just walked in and put it down."

The album showcases Jason's melodic sensibility and versatility as a player, arranger and singer. There's the punchiness of "Bush and the Tree Song, Part One," and the loping rhythms and laconic feel of the hooky "She Waits For An Answer." Jason's love of American music is present in his version of "Swing Down Sweet Chariot" ("I got it from Elvis's gospel sessions - I don't do it nearly as well as him.") and "What I May Love," which was inspired by Jason trying a Skip James guitar tuning and then writing a song around it.

With the appreciation and hard earned knowledge of how fragile and lucky he is, Jason has now tapped into something previously unavailable to him. He explains, "I feel like I'm playing from a much more authentic place now - I'm a better player now then I was before." As a musician dedicated to constant growth, improvement and communication, Jason Crigler is unique even beyond his considerable skills, for his playing now comes from a struggle and journey that few ever take, let alone e