Evan Taylor Jones Interview
I had a chance to check-in with local soulful rocker Evan Taylor Jones in advance of his upcoming show at House Of Blues in Orlando on July 30th. He’s a super-talented and driven guy and we’ve got some free tickets to the show, but first get to know the former contestant from The Voice, and strap your seatbelts to his unexpected answer regarding the recent tragedies in our City Beautiful.
Cretin: What was the impetus for recording the new EP live?
Evan Taylor Jones: The energy behind recording The Sunray Sessions Live was to expose the art of what my favorite artist used to do back in the day in the studio: press play and record until the take was perfect or satisfying enough to the band. NOT, overly edited in post and cut and paste and all that nonsense that happens so inorganically now. I wanted to create that natural feeling again and really push the envelope of musicianship.
Cretin: And, it works well on the album. For someone who has never caught your show live, how would you describe one of your shows?
Evan Taylor Jones: My live show can be described as first, eclectic. I love all kinds of music; listening and playing, and that comes out in my live performances. Expect high energy, dancing and lots of crowd engagement. I enjoy call and response between myself and the audience and it is a great way to make the people watching feel empowered, like they are supposed to be there.
Cretin: How did the band come together, and are they touring with you?
Evan Taylor Jones: The band came together over a few years and some member changes. Initially, I had met my bass player through my first guitar player. My keyboard player went to the same highschool as me, so that was a no-brainer. The guitar player that I have, we played gigs at the same local bar. We became friends and when I needed a new axe player, he was my first pick. My drummer is the eldest of the group and had been playing the Orlando scene for years, before any of us, and his band played a few of the same small festivals and we had seen each other before. He took a liking to my music, found out that I was needing a new drummer and showed up ready to play.
The background vocalist Lydia graduated from the same highschool as me as well and was my very first background vocalist in the beginning. Since then, we have had some changes in vocalists but in the past 2 years there was an opportunity for her to join again and make some more money, so she took it and acquired one of her friends to create a 3 part harmony. My 8 piece band will be on tour with me and words do not express my excitement. The full band is my favorite sound.
Cretin: You seem to have an affinity for mixing in creative cover songs – what compels you to perform those covers?
Evan Taylor Jones: For me, there is no point in keeping a cover song the same as the original. I am not satisfied unless I am originating something or writing the song myself and I think that notion is felt by everyone in the band.
(Check out one of the new Sunray Sessions offerings “Happy To Groove With You”)
Cretin: You definitely have a soulful voice that hearkens back to the classics of Soul and Rock – who were your musical inspirations?
Evan Taylor Jones: My musical inspirations are Richie Havens, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Prince and Lenny Kravitz. If I ever feel lost in what I am doing, I always find my way back by listening to them.
Cretin: I know your mom was a huge inspiration for you…
Evan Taylor Jones: Yes, my Mother is monumental in my development as a human being and musician. Her living in spirit gave me my sense of spirituality and made me dig deeper into my soul and instead of me just thinking (in high school) that sports were it and if I can’t do sports I can’t do anything, remember her and what she stands for allowed me to know that I can do ANYTHING I put my heart to.
Cretin: As a West Coast guy who has moved to Orlando, what do you think about the local music scene?
Evan Taylor Jones: Orlando has variety. But Orlando also has Disney World as it’s main attraction and distraction. I live in the theme park capitol, which is okay but it does make it harder to come up in the scene where all the money goes to those theme park activities. I have personally bowed down and decided to work as a hired musician for corporate Disney and have been since February of 2015. Doing so, has made the ‘going on tour’ process so much easier because I am exposed to people from all over the US and the world.
Cretin: Looking back on your experience on The Voice, what were the key benefits?
Evan Taylor Jones: The key benefits to being on the voice are that it brought attention to the independent work that I am doing with my music and the fact that I kept my composure and stayed humble in the process. All I wanted to do was get on TV, share my story and sing my heart out to billions of people. Mission accomplished. It boosted my fan base, brought more ears to my music, more people to my shows and more opportunities to further my career.
Cretin: When I think about your history on The Voice and as an Orlando musician, I feel compelled to ask for your thoughts on the tragic events in Orlando over the past several days?
Evan Taylor Jones: The events of the Orlando shootings are another prime example of a hired game that the government has decided to play; a scheme for earning the government money. And they make it look so pretty and loving with the whole “Pray for Orlando” and “Orlando United” and “Orlando Strong.” Now you see donation events and campaigns going up all over town. Well, where is that money going? To someone’s bank. And who owns the banks? The government…
More on the Orlando case… FIRST, it was a hate crime. THEN, he supposedly is gay and was found on a gay dating site. THEN, he was supposed to attack Disney Springs? Which is it? No one will ever know the real truth and that is all a part of the game. How does a man walk into a heavily secured place with a rifle that cases 39 shells and 50 people are dead and more than 20 (current number is 53) are injured by bullet wounds…? These are the games the government plays.
I’ll end with this: America has been programmed to think so badly about the Muslims and the people of Islam when the American government was the top funder for the Muslim embassy in the Middle East; when that thug George W. Bush and his Father are best friends with Osama and the Bin Ladens, so much that the Bush family funded the move for Osama’s family to Virginia. My thoughts and prayers are with the families that had to suffer such losses. But if they only knew the truth…
Cretin: Well, there you have it. I’m not sure what to think about those last few statements, but I’ll leave those thoughts up to you on the comments below, or on our Facebook Page.
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