Jelly Jar
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Jelly Jar

Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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Music

Press


"Canadian Press"

Stunningly Haunting: Jelly Jar’s new CD, Preserved, is a gripping acoustic powered trip. Songwriter Tom Metcalf’s haunting banjo adds a surreal string to Jelly Jar’s modern roots powered journey. His mouth full of marbles New Orleans drawl adds an otherworldly edge to a kind of spooky yet up-tempo ride. This is one fun and thought provoking listen. The band’s other songwriter, Rick Duszynski has a more contemporary, Brooks and Dunn like vocal style which helps cuts like Man that’s Austin really stand out. In addition, the rest of the band tears it up, which makes Jelly Jar essential listening for anyone looking for an alternative to modern country and folk." - Richard Amery - Kenora Daily Miner and News, Ontario


"Austin Chronicle"

Jelly Jar's new Preserved is a stone pleasure, 10 tracks from a bluegrass jam session featuring backing vocalist Karen Peters, lately of the femme group Hot Flash. Peters plays Emmylou to a room full of Grams on an album to pull out when you need to describe the Austin sound.
Margaret Moser - Austin Chronicle


"CD Baby"

Mixing in the twang of the Delta with rugged, crunchy vocals and washes of sound, this is some of the most compelling hybrid music yet. - CD Baby


"Austin Daze"

So I pop in to Gino’s Italian Grill, which is one of my favorite South Austin dives. They’ve got good food, good live music and plenty of ice cold Shiner bock. A guy named Greg who is one of the owners will walk up and tell you funny jokes even if he’s never met you. (But since he knows me pretty well, he never leaves me alone.)
It happened to be my lucky night, because unbeknownst to me a band I’ve never heard of is throwing their CD release party. I watch them set up, and I can tell they all look like seasoned musicians. One of them looks familiar- Albert Besteiro from “del Castillo” with guitar in tow. Del Castillo’s singer Alex is hanging out with his wife and child- so by now I’m thinking this must be a pretty good thing.

Through the haze of Shiners and a few free rounds from friends, I can tell Jelly Jar is a special thing. The vocal talents are obvious, the musicianship is sharp, there’s good song writing and poetic, illustrative lyrics. Obviously, I went ahead and bought the CD. It wasn’t until the next day after 3 advils and a double espresso latte that I popped it into my player and realized what a great thing this band is.

Imagine vocals somewhere between Tom Waits and Dr. John, without consciously trying to sound like either. Imagine storyteller type lyrics that avoid clichés, but are able to pull them off when they do happen. Â Throw in some creative instrumentation like banjo and accordion, then display it in an alternative blues, folk and country format. That’s a clue of what’s going on here.

Most of the songs feature Tom Metcalf on vocals, with his raspy backwoods drawl and wry delivery. Wisely, some songs feature vocals by Rick Duszynski to balance things out and cleanse the palette. What really shines here (aside from the unique vocals and musicianship) is the songwriting. Haunting and melodic, rich in both blues and folk, the dreamlike state and creative imagery captured here will get you. The track entitled “Man That’s Austin” is one of the best Austin tributes since Doug Sahm’s “Get A Life.”

Rick del Castillo provides his expertise in the knob twiddling department (producer and engineer) and Karen Peters does some great background vocal work. Â Put all of that on the rock solid foundation provided by bassist Charlie Irwin and drummer Gary Devries and you’ve got a classic CD that will spend plenty of time in your player. This CD gets a 7.5 from me.

- Austin Daze


Discography

Jelly Jar: Currant Jelly, 2006
Jelly Jar: Preserved, 2004
www.jellyjarmusic.com
June 8, 2005 - Live radio with Jon Aielli at KUT FM 90.5 studios -
http://www.kut.org/site/PageServer?pagename=mus_eklektikosarchive

Photos

Bio

Austin, Texas band Jelly Jar concocts a tantalizingly original and pleasing blend of stylistic influences to create a catchy, and highly danceable sound all their own. Tastes of blues, folk, bluegrass, swing and country can all be heard in their lively music, but what it really sounds like is pure Jelly Jar.

Merging the distinctively different, but complementary, singing and songwriting talents of Tom Metcalf and Rick Duszynski, the band displays a flair for interpreting original songs that range from tongue-in-cheek hilarious to heart-on-sleeve poignant. Their voices, plus the band, featuring banjo and saxophone, along with female vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, and drums, Jelly Jar’s sound segues seamlessly from a jazzy and sophisticated vibe to swampy blues.

Jelly Jar has been steadily building a following and gathering favorable reviews of their first CD, Preserved. That CD won Rick del Castillo of Smilin’ Castle Productions “Producer of the Year” honors at the 2005 Austin Music Awards. Jelly Jar’s music has inspired reviewers to conjure expressions such as “stunningly haunting” and “sly, jazzy swing” to describe the band’s sound. In the Austin Chronicle, Margaret Moser called Preserved “an album to pull out when you need to describe the Austin sound.” In the Austin Daze, Maria Mesa describes “the dreamlike state and creative imagery” of Jelly Jar songwriting. For Doc from Texas Rising Star, Jelly Jar’s music conjures a “bluegrass band with the blues, waking up drunk in New Orleans and not giving one gawd damn.”

Perhaps the die was cast for the insightful quirkiness of their future band when Jelly Jar songwriters Tom Metcalf and Rick Duszynski met as high school juniors, at the same Southern California school that had already graduated eccentric musical geniuses Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart. Duszynski was writing songs, and the two jammed together, becoming fast friends. Then diverging life paths led to over two decades without any contact. Settling in Austin, Metcalf set out on a quest to find his old friend. After locating Duszynski in Oregon, he invited him to come and visit.

It was a cold February when Duszynski arrived. It took him only three days of visiting before Duszynski came up with the chorus and a verse of “Man, That’s Austin.” Metcalf finished the song that night. Two days later they recorded a demo of their first co-write and seven Metcalf originals. A few days later, Duszynski returned to Oregon, but the amazing musical chemistry conjured in one recording session ensured that he would be back.

At age 18, Metcalf had bought a banjo, simply because not everyone else played one. After relatives heard Preserved, they told him his grandfather had also played banjo. Metcalf did not begin to flex his own songwriting muscles until years later, after honing his chops enough to compose melody lines on his chosen instrument. Joining a songwriter’s circle, he received enthusiastic encouragement to continue. After the reunion with Duszynski, Metcalf sought out interested players for his first band and began gigging around town.

“Man, that’s Austin” moved Mesa to declare the song “one of the best Austin tributes since Doug Sahm’s ‘Get A Life.’” Through frequent airplay on Austin’s popular NPR station KUT, Zachary Scott Theatre director Dave Steakley heard the song and selected it for prominent featuring in the Austin tribute play, Keepin’ It Weird. From there, snippets of the song aired on the CBS Sunday Morning feature on the play and the weirdness of Austin.

Jelly Jar keeps stirring the inspiration pot and has just released their second CD, titled "Currant Jelly" and will be on the road and in Austin promoting its release all through October and beyond.