Jay Psaros

Category: Songwriter Stories

Jay PsarosMy name is Jay Psaros. I am a Boston based singer/songwriter. I've traveled the country playing my music several times, especially at the start of my career. The tours have taken me from the sweltering, damp South to the dramatic and romantic north of Alaska. My first two releases were full length albums with ambitions tours based behind them. My first albums "Tripping and Running," and "On Up the Road" received praise locally, regionally and nationally. After all of this was done it was time to re-evaluate. Then came my latest release "Simply." After two years of constant writing and touring, the candle was burning a bit low. Making a living as an artist is never easy but I started to worry as funds were running low and my writing wasn't as fluid and consistent as before. I knew I had to keep writing and recording. So I took a little retreat to the studio when it was time to start recording the EP "Simply." The only problem was, I didn't have too many songs.

I record in a studio located in Easton, New Hampshire. It is a small studio called Mojo and the town of Easton doesn't so much as have a store, let alone a police station, town hall, etc. There is no cell phone service or internet, but the surrounding environment is completely inspiring. While I was at the cabin I go to before and after sessions I just started writing. I had to remind myself that "Not every song can be a great one." It was the first time I was writing to write, without some inspiration behind me. But I kept at it. The cabin can get lonely, but the distractions are few. I didn't have a theme or "meaning" for the song but I was trying desperately to uphold a professional attitude, in which in a creative field, there is a fine line between "do it for love" and "you gotta make a living." In music, songs are the beginning of "you gotta make a living."

Once the melody and chord structure was built, the line "People say I'm running with a bad crowd, giving me looks to keep me out of their town" popped into my head. Still, with no meaning behind it, I at least had a theme. It was late, and my session was scheduled for early the next day. With no distraction around and a quite environment I just started to throw out lines. So often, songwriters are always asking "the meaning of things." I had to abandon this concept and let whatever was stuck inside of me just come out. As the song began to build and grow, I found myself with many lines that don't mean much (to me personally.) However, I found these lines to be interesting and thought provoking...in a way, the song started to ask me what the meaning was. With the song near completion (just lacking a bridge) I headed up to the studio. Down the mountain road, onto the highway, North through the rugged Franconia Notch, and into the woods to meet my engineer and good friend Tony Cimino. Tony runs Mojo and has played the drums, engineered and co-produced all of my music. We work well together and I find that in the studio, being able to make a full band sound with just the two of us has allowed for a very efficient formula. There are no egos to compete with and no egos amongst ourself.

I presented the song to Tony and we sat down to come up with a bridge for it. We were able to come up with something that fit the song perfectly. It drops the rhythm and does something that is almost as random as the lyrical content of the song. It was a perfect fit! Later in the week, we were joined by Olivia Brownlee to lay down some female vocals to the track.

So there it is, there is no crazy story behind the song. No shocking romance, no tragic circumstance, nothing out of the ordinary or truly eye opening. But this was a lesson to me. This song is my favorite song on the EP "Simply." With lines like "Where's the ball when we need to pitch, what good is a trailer if it's got no hitch?," it seemed that the song was asking me the questions that I usually ask a song. If I didn't let go of the idea of concept and meaning, I never would have arrived with this tune. The funny thing, to me, is that now this song has incredible meaning to me, as it represents what can be accomplished if we just try. Sometimes we don't need meaning, or inspiration, or even a reason to do what we do. But, if we are open to the experience we can learn a lot from whatever that experience may be.