Creativity at its best is a process of discovery,’ says American songwriter Jason Wilber, who plays Róisín Dubh on Monday, August 14. Jason, who recently released his eighth solo album, has also been John Prine’s guitarist for the past 20 years.
Reaction Time is ten tracks of honest-to-goodness songwriting, produced by Jason’s long-time collaborator Paul Mahern. Did Jason show up with the tracks he recorded, or does he create while he’s in the studio?
“What I did on this record was, once I had batch of about 30 songs I felt good about, I got those into reasonable shape. Then I went into the studio with Paul and we just made simple demos of all the songs,” he says.
“After each one we’d talk about them and he’d say ‘maybe this verse needs to be a little better’ or ‘something else needs to happen here’. He’d just talk through his impressions of the songs and what might need improvement.”
Those 30 were then whittled down to 15, and then a further five were cut.
“At that point, it was about picking the songs that would work best together and make are a record that’s going to flow,” Jason says. “One that has a beginning, middle and an end.”
Given Jason’s skills as a guitarist and the fact he tours with one of America’s most respected songwriters, you might expect him to be based in a musical hub like Nashville, LA or New York. Instead he’s based in Bloomington, Indiana – not as famous a town, but one with its own rich musical heritage.
“Bloomington is a small college town in the Midwest, about halfway between Chicago and Nashville,” Jason says. “It actually has the largest music college in the world, as part of Indiana University. There are tons of musicians here, tons of music. So that was great for me growing up here, to have access to that.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.