Jayson Bales
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Jayson Bales

Dallas, Texas, United States | INDIE

Dallas, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Rock


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"Various Media Quotes"

Press Quotes

"Cruel & Unusual is one of the must have CDs of the year! I'm talking all CDs put out by all people on planet earth during its most recent revolution around the sun!" TEXAS GIGS.COM

"Bales is a keen observer here. A songwriter let loose with the rock guys for a change." AMERICANA UK

"Immediately it becomes obvious that an album with a message can also be a fun album. Bruce Springsteen and Robert Earl Keen are masters of songwriting. Jayson Bales & The Revival come very close!” ROOTSTIME MUSIC MAGAZINE, Belgum

"Although there is a definite outlaw feel to the band's music, Bales' voice has the tinge of a late '60s folk and rock & roll musician. Think Tom Petty meets Johnny Cash." GOOD TIMES NEWSPAPER, Santa Cruz

“Cruel & Unusual is a serious, weary CD that fits more into the rock genre, far closer in its consciousness to Bruce Springsteen. Bales came a long way in a short time between 2002’s Pretty Good Year and 2004’s Broken Furniture; he’s taken another big step here.” BUDDY MAGAZINE
“The release of Cruel & Unusual marks a milestone for Mr. Bales. It traipses around the musical map. It’s dark, moody, power pop and brooding rock with a slight country flavor and sardonic lyrics.” THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS

“With the release of his fourth album, “Cruel and Unusual,” Bales digs deeper. The songs are personal and exposing, offering social commentary dark and rough around the edges.” GANNETT NEWS

“A damn fine songwriter. His style is much like early Robert Keen. I can readily recommend Jayson.” DAVE OBERMAN, KUT/NPR RADIO AUSTIN

“Folk-rock has a promising new voice in Dallas. Singer-songwriter Jayson Bales merges pensive lyrics, plenty of catchy hooks and an airy, energetic and organic sound. Mr. Bales and his musical mates charm an audience with good, old-fashioned presence and chops.” BELO NATIONAL NEWS NETWORKS

"Jayson Bales & the Revival have put together an album that will keep your head bobbing, your toe tapping and your soul crying." AMERICANA ROOTS.COM

“He displays a literary deftness with his story-songs that few songwriters today possess let alone attempt. The song ‘El Capitan de Galveston’ is one of the best I’ve heard this year.” ROCKZILLAWORLD MUSIC REVIEWS

"I was blown away by the first song "X Street", a social-commentary rocker with stellar lead guitar wrapped around inventive rock-riffs and an intoxicating rhythem section. Plain and simple: this song rocks. My euphoria was sustained while I listened to the other cuts...I discovered some of the best rock-n-roll I've ever heard." COLLECTING VINYL RECORDS

“His writing sets him apart from fellow Texas musicians.” AMARILLO GLOBE NEWS
- multiple sources

"CD Review: Jayson Bales & The Revival's Cruel & Unusual By Blair Lovern"

Cruel & Unusual by Jayson Bales is one of the must-have CDs of the year. I don't mean just local CDs. I'm talking all CDs put out by all people on planet earth during its most recent revolution around the sun. Bales said his fourth release is one he's most proud of, and based on the quality of this record, this married father of three has every reason to be proud. I wrote that last sentence to make fun of miserable, uninspiring writers who make me want to puke. Hey, man, cut me some slack. I just got through listening to Cruel & Unusual. The songs are stark. They're dark. The world isn't all-the-time pretty.

I'm going a bit overboard. But here's why this CD is more than 10 bitter songs about the crap in life. Bales said he "started to become kind of cynical at the ugliness of the world. But at the same time, I'm hopeful of the beauty and hope of the individual. These songs might be more dark than I've done before, but there is hope in every song, even triumph."

As I take many of the songs on this CD, and it may or may not be the way Bales does, changing a dirty world is an impossible job for an individual. So how do you deal with it? That, friend, is up to you. I knew a baseball coach a long time ago say that when you're in a pinch at game time you can sit there and bitch about it all day long and get nowhere. Or you can fight your way out and move ahead. Crude analogy, yes, but
you get the idea. The songs do a better job. It's easy to slip into an introspective mood from this record right away. The songs are powerful. Play them loud for full effect.

Musically, Bales and the band have ditched the sound by which most fans know them."I kind of have a reputation as an alt-country guy, or a Texas music guy," he said. "I kind of don't like to be told I can't do something. I'm little stubborn, and in the past when people have told me, 'You can't play with this guy' or 'You can't open for this band because that's not what you do' then I want to prove them wrong. I wanted to try something different on this CD, and I decided to take a left turn with my art so to speak. This is a rock album. I guess I've just evolved over the years. I think every time you make an album you do something different. I always want to be better as a songwriter, better as a musician and try new things."

This is the first record after Bales signed with Pampelmoose Records this past summer. It was produced by Salim Nourallah at Pleasantry Lane. I hate saying this, but some of these songs would truly enhance a movie or TV show. Sounds trite, I know. That’s not how I mean it. Cruel & Unusual has some terrific stories, which could enrich a good story in another medium. Listening to “Las Vegas” track, for example, one of the first things that popped in my mind is that some producer should stick that song in the show CSI when Gil Grissom is walking around a dead body just shaking his head and wondering what the hell the world has come to. I don’t watch the show, but my wife does, so I have nothing more than an ancillary idea of Gil Grissom walking around dead bodies doing that. Probably doesn't, so who cares.

Anyway, Bales admits that storytelling is his strong suit.“I try a bunch of writing styles,” he said. “I’m constantly trying to test myself. I’m probably best at telling stories, I guess I’m better at that than the more obtuse stuff. But I like trying the more obtuse, like on this CD there’s ‘Amy's Song’ and ‘Why Don't You Cry Anymore’, which leave a little more to the imagination. I try to write as much as possible, whether it’s writing songs or a journal or blogging, or writing somewhere else just for the sake of it.

“I have three journals of songs, some that will never see the light of day. Some of it's crap. But every once in a while something will come out decent. I just keep doing it and doing it and doing it. Sometimes I’ll wake up middle of night, write a title and two lines to a song and that will be it, then I won't come back to it for two months.

“I didn't write specifically for this album, I just felt like it was time and I did it. Two of the songs – ‘I Wonder Where You Are Tonight’ and ‘I Walk Alone – I wrote in middle of recording. I spent the most time I’ve worked on a record this time, we really pieced everything together carefully, building it song by song. I believe in being efficient in the studio, but this one we recorded in two months.”
Here’s true efficiency: Bales, a financial advisor in the daytime, wrote "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight" on his BlackBerry in his car on the way to work in between stoplights one morning.

He'll have to put time management skills to use again very soon. Bales is scheduled to be on the FOX 4 morning show this Thursday, he's got a CD release party this Saturday, he'll be featured in the Dallas Morning News and other publications in the near future, he'll be on tour in other states next year, plus he's still in the office managing big piles of cash and at home with the family. Life will only get busier when fans hear Cruel & Unusual.

“You've always got to be growing," Bales said. "My life is constantly changing. I've got three children now, work and family, and hopefully I can play music in between all that. And with the music what I do is just observe the world around me, I take in what I read and see. Unfortunately, I still think the world is an ugly place at times. But there is so much love and outpouring and triumph in people. At least the human spirit will always be there."
- TexasGigs.com / Pegasus News

"The Dallas Morning News - Under The Radar"

Who's going to have a breakout year in 2006? Our critics take a look at entertainers and artists who haven't gotten your attention yet – but probably will in the coming year.

MUSIC: Jayson Bales
Folk-rock singer-songwriter
32, of Dallas

Cheryl Diaz Meyer / DMN
Jayson Bales
Background: A financial consultant by day at Spectrum Strategies LLC in Addison, Jayson Bales strips off the business suit and straps on a guitar to perform original hook-filled folk-rock by night. With three CDs under his belt, including 2004's impressive and mature Broken Furniture, the tall, doe-eyed artist continues to make a local name for himself one regional gig at a time. That's no small feat, considering he has a full-time job, a wife, two children and one on the way.
Why him now: Since the release of Broken Furniture, Mr. Bales and his three-member band, the Revival, have earned a solid reputation as quality concert musicians on the local club circuit, from Poor David's Pub to the Granada Theater. He's also in demand as a solo acoustic performer playing coffeehouses such as Standard and Pours Coffee and Stocks and restaurants such as Highlands Cafe. But 2006 could be his biggest year.
He's recording a new CD with producer Salim Nourallah (Old 97's, Rhett Miller, Deathray Davies), which promises to be more rock than the others. Guest John Lefler of Dashboard Confessional plays guitar on the disc. It should be available come spring. He has signed a song-publishing deal with Dallas-based JW Entertainment.
Career path: "I am more comfortable about where I am and more sure of myself than I ever have been," says Mr. Bales. "I feel a deep connection and responsibility to place myself in the middle of and promote the Dallas music scene. I believe this new album will take me to new listeners that I've never reached before."
Where to see him next: Mr. Bales and the Revival play Jovita's in Austin Jan. 14. The show is part of a Dallas music showcase he organized that also features performances by Mr. Nourallah, the Chemistry Set, I Love Math, JD Whittenburg and Travis Hopper.
Mario Tarradell
- Mario Tarradell, Dallas Morning News

"Americana Roots Magazine - Review - Cruel & Unusual"

AmericanaRoots.com – Americana Roots Magazine
Jayson Bales & the Revival - Cruel & Unusual
Jason Bales is either a financial advisor moonlighting as a musician, or a musician daylighting as a financial advisor in Dallas. In any case, with a family and the above obligations, he's a very busy guy. His latest album with his band The Revival is titled Cruel & Unusual, his first record for Pampelmoose Records. Hopefully it is not his results as a financial planner that have inspired these songs, because this is not the happiest bunch of songs. On "X Street" he sings, "we've all been educated/but the truths they taught us are highly overrated." X Street is also where we find "a woman in a stained blue dress with a white house badge around her neck and a cigar in her left hand". Don't end up on X Street. The songs vary between up-tempo lively (depressing) Americana tunes driven by electric guitars, and slower ballads such as "Amy's Song."
My favorite songs on the CD are sad the sad laments, I Wonder Where You Are Tonight?, and Why Don't You Cry Anymore?, as well as the rocker Lazarus Banquet Table at which "Peter says to John, and John says to Paul, do you ever get tired, wish you could just be Saul?"
Uplifting this is not. Nothing blew me away, but Jayson Bales & the Revival have put together a very listenable album that will keep your head bobbing, your toe tapping and your soul crying. - Don Zelazny
- Americana Roots Magazine

"The Shreveport Times - Jayson Bales reveals dark side of folk"

Jayson Bales reveals dark side of folk
November 9, 2006

Jayson Bales will play at Sharpie's in Shreveport on Saturday, Nov. 11, for the CD release of new album "Cruel and Unusual." (Special to The Times)

WHO: Jayson Bales CD release.
WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Sharpie's, 3104 Youree Drive, Shreveport.
COST: $5 cover charge.

Financial consultant Jayson Bales loses his business suit at sundown. In exchange for a casual shirt and comfortable blue jeans, the Texas native takes on his night persona as a folk-rocker.

With the release of his fourth album, "Cruel and Unusual," Bales digs deeper into his by-night identity. The songs are personal and exposing, offering social commentary relevant to issues appearing in headlines, such as Hurricane Katrina.

"If there is a theme it's that the world can be an ugly place, but I think extraordinary people can rise about it," Bales said. "If there is another theme it is the championing of unforgotten people."

Bales will share his rock commentary with Shreveport on Saturday at Sharpie's. Moving away from his folk-sounding, Texas-rooted music, the songwriter will deliver less polished tunes that are dark and rough around the edges.

"The music I love and the music that inspires me is bigger than Texas country music. I want to appeal to all kinds of people. I don't want to be tucked into a box."
- The Shreveport Times

"Buddy Magazine - Review of Cruel & Unusual"

Cruel & Unusual is a serious, weary CD that fits more into the rock genre than Jayson Bales' first two CDs, far closer (if that's not an oxymoron) in its consciousness to Bruce Springsteen than to the headbanging side of the genre.

The CD is often a prayer that the have nots will survive the haves, and Bales is a cynic who still prays.

On "X Street," he prays for the people living lives in a land of promises that turned to mud, where "credit cards are the new cocaine."

On the moody "I Walk Alone," he prays for the man who gave back the pills but kept the gun, and who believes, "they stole my country, they hurl their stones, high in their glass castles sitting on their thrones."

Bales wrote the songs and added guitar to his vocals, The Revival is Trae Doss (bass, vocals, handclaps), Bruce Johnson (guitars,vocals), and Greg Fontanillas (drums and other percussion). Additional musicians include producer Salim Nourallah (bass,vocals), John Lefler (guitars, piano), Carter Albrecht and Chris Holt(guitars, keyboard, organ), Sara Donaldson (violin, cello), and Eric Willis(piano).

Bales came a long way in a short time between 2002’s Pretty Good Year and 2004’s Broken Furniture; he’s taken another big step here.
- by Tom Geddie, Buddy Magazine


"Cruel & Unusual" - 2006, Pampelmoose Records
"Broken Furniture" - 2004, 3B Records/Self
"Pretty Good Year" - 2003, Self-released
"Clermont St." - 2002, Self-released

Radio Stations that have played Jayson's music include: KPLX, KDAQ, KLSA, KLBJ, KCUB, WGCS, WQNR, KWRP, WERU, WETS, KHYI, KUT,Country Bear, Alt-Country Cooking, WRRW, WXLV, Cool FM, La Hora del Blues, RRR Blues Radio, Public Radio East, WWUH, WFDU, WYOU, Semi-Twang, KZSU, CKPC, WIKX, KSTV, KNON, KBCS, KGLT, Off The Beaten Track, KXCI, WRFG, KFJC, KPFT, WMUC



by j. poet & Jayson Bales

Jayson Bales, who was born in Austin and calls Dallas home, doesn’t shy away from his Texas roots, but at the same time has made his way apart from just the “Texas music scene.”
“I love a lot of the music coming out of Texas right now,” says Jayson. “At the same time though, I don’t want to be boxed into a certain genre. It doesn’t allow for flexibility with your audience as you grow musically. Most of what I am doing right now is more influenced by rock-n-roll, and less by the outlaw country music typically identified with the Texas music scene. I still have a hard time defining what is Texas music anyway. It’s not a genre. It’s just where you are from.”
“I started out writing folk music on the acoustic guitar by myself; political songs, story songs, love songs, but I quickly figured out the music I like best had many sound dimensions to it and that I could create that with a fuller sound. I started really getting into Brian Wilson, Calexico, Los Lobos, and Wilco. My drummer Greg Fontanillas also schooled me in jazz, so I fell in love with Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, and Coltrane. These artists are making sonically interesting music. My thoughts were to merge some of those sounds with the writings of a folk singer. So I guess now I play folk-rock. Who knows really?”
With other musicians he’d met through various gigs, Jayson formed his band which is like his second family. Greg Fontanillas (drums), Johnny Ferrell (guitar, vocals), and Peter Wilkins (bass), make up the core alongside Jayson (lead vocals, guitar, songs). If anything the band family is flexible and a host of other musicians have been known to lend their talents to Jayson’s music. Artists like Rich Brotherton, Trish Murphy, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, John Lefler, Salim Nourallah, and Carter Albrecht have all joined Jayson before.
“Greg, Peter, and Johnny are my family and I think that makes us tight onstage. At the same time, I’m flexible enough to adapt with other musicians based on the needs of a performance.”
Though he doesn’t tour like he used to, Jayson is still making albums and playing shows across Texas and California. Jayson’s last album, Cruel & Unusual, spent 10 straight weeks on the AMA Top 100 radio charts and hit #4 on the Roots Music folk charts. The album showed a darker side to Bales from his previous record, Broken Furniture. The darker, less polished sounds of Cruel & Unusual were brought out by producer, Salim Nourallah (Old 97s, Carter Albrecht, Sorta) and a cast of rock, country, and jazz musicians. For his latest album scheduled for release in the Fall of 2008, Jayson has reunited with Nourallah and is focusing on cutting the basic tracks strictly with his core band and then adding some world music and pop flavors to the album.