5 Questions for Jackson Musicians | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

5 Questions for Jackson Musicians

Name: Barry Leach


Age: 53


Occupation: Guitar teacher


Band Names: The Barry Leach Band, The Vamps, solo work


Position in Bands: Guitarist


Genre: Jazz, rock, blues

Name: Barry Leach Age: 53 Occupation: Guitar teacher Band Names: The Barry Leach Band, The Vamps, solo work Position in Bands: Guitarist Genre: Jazz, rock, blues Photo by Courtesy R. Raulston Photography

Barry Leach

Who are your top three musical influences and why?

I would have to start with The Beatles, then probably Led Zeppelin and Pat Metheny. The Beatles have so many great songs. Jimmy Page's guitar playing really set his and Led Zeppelin's music apart for me. Metheny, obviously, is a jazz guitarist, and that was a new style I was getting into (at) that time. John McLaughlin is another guitarist who has probably been even more influential to me than Metheny because he blended rock and jazz into a fusion. ... I was coming from the rock scene when I was a teenager, so McLaughlin and guys like Al Di Meola really caught my attention when they bridged the gap between rock and jazz.

How would you describe the Jackson music scene?

It's great. There's so much talent and all types of people and styles of music. I get to play a lot of different things. I get a chance to explore all of the musical genres I like.

What has been the hardest part of being a musician in Jackson?

I've always been able to meet and play with different kinds of people here. I really enjoy working around Jackson, so I don't know if I'd say anything has been hard so far.

Where do you see yourself in three years in terms of your musical career?

I want to put out a new studio project that I'm trying to get off the ground, and I hope to continue teaching. I've been teaching now for about 17 years, and I've had several students who have gone on to receive music scholarships. I hope to get this project out which will be a little more mainstream. It's got some of my own songs as well as some classic rock covers, so I hope that might catch on. Maybe in three years I could be touring locally or regionally.

What are your favorite pastimes when you're not practicing or performing?

I'm a big football fan, and I love the Saints. A lot of things really revolve around music for me. I love listening to music and finding new and old artists alike. YouTube is great for musicians, and you can just about find anything on it to listen to.

—Justin Hosemann

Lydia Bain

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Name: Lydia Bain Age: 26 Occupation: Music teacher at Mississippi Talent Education Band Name: Wink & the Signal Position in Band: Vocalist and violinist Genre: Afro-country

Who are your top three musical influences and why?

I would say Fiona Apple, Coldplay, Al Green and The Rolling Stones. I know that's not three. Fiona Apple because of her lyrical content and just her voice. She doesn't sound like anyone else. She continued the female-artist torch; a lot of people are influenced by her. Al Green because he's Al Green. The Rolling Stones because Mick Jagger is one of the greatest frontmen of rock 'n' roll. They were really influenced by the great blues musicians and did a lot of anthropological research on what made American music. Not only emulating the music through listening and copying, but they also did their research. And Coldplay because it's just beauty rap, and they make the world a better place sonically, in my opinion.

How would you describe the Jackson music scene?

Growing and inspiring. There are a lot of great musicians here who are up-and-coming and also who have been here for awhile. ... I think that it's a mixture of young and old coming together, and that's a great thing to see. There's a mentorship mentality.

What has been the hardest part of being a musician in Jackson?

We do mostly original music, and a lot of the Jackson music scene works by cover songs. So we're gradually incorporating a few choice cover songs.

Where do you see yourself in three years in terms of your musical career?

Definitely on some large stages, American Music Awards, and we'll be playing a lot of charity events for causes that we feel are important. My bandmate and I are also music teachers, so we want to incorporate the touring with master classes and educational programs across the country.

What are your favorite pastimes when you're not practicing or performing?

Coincidentally, my bandmate and I have the same extra-curricular; we love to ice skate (and) try new restaurants when we have the resources.

—Briana Robinson

Drew McKercher

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Name: Drew McKercher Age: 32 Occupation: Owner of Morningbell Records & Studios Band Name: Spacewolf, Ice for Eagles Position in Band: Vocalist and guitarist Genre: Post-grunge

Who are your top three musical influences and why?

Tough question. Specifically for this band, when we got together the biggest influence that we kind of drew on was Queens of the Stone Age, definitely—Josh Homme's guitar tones and his songwriting. Also Dinosaur Jr., and ... I have to say Nirvana.

How would you describe the Jackson music scene?

I think the Jackson music scene has really grown a lot in the past six years. There's a good hip-hop scene. There's a good rock scene. There's a good metal scene. I think we have a varied, high-quality music scene.

What has been the hardest part of being a musician in Jackson?

To get more recognition, you have to go outside Jackson, whereas if you lived in New York City or Austin or Portland, you wouldn't have to travel as much to get national attention.

Where do you see yourself in three years in terms of your musical career?

Over the past couple years I've been focusing more on recording and producing other artists My main goal is to develop that and develop the record label (Business People Music) that me and Justin Shultz have. For a couple of years it's really been dormant, so building up the record label and also still writing and recording.

What are your favorite pastimes when you're not practicing or performing?

I have two kids, so hanging out with my kids. I also own a record store.

—Mo Wilson

Herbert Brown

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Name: Herbert Brown Age: 33 Occupation: Financial aid counselor Stage Name: James Crow Genre: Rap

Who are your top three musical influences and why?

Gil Scott Heron is my biggest influence because I think the way he encompassed all that is what I call "black music." He pieced together blues, hip-hop, jazz, soul and R&B. Joe Henderson is my favorite saxophonist of all-time. ... He'd go from hard bop to more fusion jazz to all different styles. He could play them all well, which is what I try to do with my music; I want to do it all well. ... Curtis Mayfield because of his poetry and the way he was able to narrate urban life.

How would you describe the Jackson music scene?

It's vibrant. I love it because what I'm seeing now is a lot of different folks working together. Some of the coolest guys and girls I know are in the music scene.

What has been the hardest part of being a musician in Jackson?

For me, it has been doing shows. I know my sound, and I know what I bring to the hip-hop scene. I want to entertain, but I want people to be left with something more than just a feeling, so it's been hard to play some of the traditional hip-hop venues.

Where do you see yourself in three years in terms of your musical career?

I'm trying to get into deejaying. ... I feel like that is the basis for all hip-hop. ... I'd like to start doing some tribute pieces—maybe take something like Curtis Mayfield samples and making a whole project out of just that.

What are your favorite pastimes when you're not practicing or performing?

I like working out, but I like to explore new things and expose myself to different things.

—Tommy Burton

Caleb Rowe

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Name: Caleb Rowe Age: 22 Occupation: Server/bartender at Sombra Mexican Kitchen Band Name: Sucio Position in Band: Vocalist Genre: Screamo

Who are your top three musical influences and why?

Basement, a band from the U.K., is probably my favorite because they have a great sound and they're not afraid to express how they feel. Dads is a smaller two-piece band. They're very DIY and vegan, so probably a lot of our music is influenced by them. Another band, The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, musically is just mellow and reminds me that everything is OK in the world.

How would you describe the Jackson music scene?

I'd say that we're reevaluating our ethics as far as what we believe should happen or not happen. So we're just trying to piece that together and make it as communal as possible and not really worry about the stereotypes or anything like that.

What has been the hardest part of being a musician in Jackson?

Getting people to believe in the things that you believe in with the same amount of passion that you have. Getting people excited about the cool things that are going on; not just that, but getting people to come out to shows or getting people to help out.

Where do you see yourself in three years in terms of your musical career?

Maybe doing media for bands, like shooting videos or helping set up tours.

What are your favorite pastimes when you're not practicing or performing?

Just listening to music, looking up videos of other bands and seeing how things are being done. I sit on Tumblr a lot. ... I like DIY spaces and general knowledgeful things and funny things.

—Briana Robinson

Jason Daniels

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Name: Jason Daniels Age: 44 Occupation: Full-time Musician Band Name: Jason Daniels Band Position in band: Guitarist Genre: Americana

Who are your top three musical influences and why?

J.J. Cale, because of his down-home groove. Keith Richards, because ... of his awesomeness at playing rock 'n' roll. Taj Mahal, because I just love the way he plays the blues with a little Caribbean flavor.

How would you describe the Jackson music scene?

It's kind of interesting coming from Nashville where the scene is so thick and there's a ton of uber-educated people and technically proficient players. (But) there's a depth to playing with people here that you don't get in Nashville.

What has been the hardest part of being a musician in Jackson?

The big struggle was really just getting band together—finding people that had similar interests, a super amount of time and similar aspirations. ... I've gotten really lucky with the guys I'm playing with.

Where do you see yourself in three years in terms of your musical career?

Hopefully, playing frequently and being respected in the Jackson area. Doing some regional touring and maybe some national touring. And (still) making records.

What are your favorite pastimes when you're not practicing or performing?

I cook. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

—Tommy Burton

Maya Kyles

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Name: Maya Kyles Age: 20 Occupation: Student at Jackson State University studying social work Band Name: The Amazin’ Lazy Boi Band Position in Band: Drummer Genre: Blues, R&B, soul, neo-soul, gospel

Who are your top three musical influences and why?

Number one would be Anita Baker, because she's so sultry. ... Number two would have to be Prince. I've always liked him, but he just has that great versatility (and) awesome music. Number three (is) Chrisette Michelle. She has that urban flair, but she still (makes) good music.

How would you describe the Jackson music scene?

People are still trying to categorize us in that whole—I don't even know what to call it—like that old backwood-country blues kind of stuff, but there's so much versatility.

What has been the hardest part of being a musician in Jackson?

I play at F. Jones Corner every Thursday night from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m., and I have to get up for class that morning. ... You can't compare yourself to other musicians. ... (It's) finding your own sound, and just being creative in your own sense.

Where do you see yourself in three years in terms of your musical career?

Hopefully, I'll still be kicking it with The Amazin' Lazy Boi Band. I see myself as being a well-rounded, seasoned musician, and one that can hopefully pass on wisdom and a little talent to the next generation.

What are your favorite pastimes when you're not practicing or performing?

I kind of enjoy in a weird way being a student. I'm a student at Jackson State University. ... I think I just like hanging out with my friends, and I love to watch "The Golden Girls."

—Amber Helsel

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