Today’s Parlor Sessions Profile is of Jason Myles Goss, a songwriter with uncanny ability to step outside of himself and write songs from another point of view that ring utterly true. He’s a storyteller whose songs can transport us into the boxing ring, to the boardwalk on Coney Island, to a fishing boat in Maine, to name a few places.
In describing the influences on his most recent album Radio Dial, his website states:
…in his latest collection of songs, Jason displays a broad range of influences, from the stark and eclipsing lyricism of Gillian Welch and A. A. Bondy, to the lush, melody-driven, pop/rock ambitions of Ryan Adams’ “Gold” and The Wallflowers’ “Bringing Down the Horse.”
I do hear that, but I’d add there is something Springsteenesque in his ability to evoke the working class so empathetically in his lyrics.
He’s now based in Brooklyn, but he grew up in Hopedale, MA, and in 2003 at the age of 21, when he was selected as a finalist in the first Newport Folk Festival Songwriters’ Contest, he was the youngest finalist by 10 years. It’s one of a number of awards and accolades he’s received.
Yesterday I posted the responses of Andy Zipf to a series of questions about the Parlor Sessions Tour. I asked Jason Myles Goss, another of your four musical “hosts” in the Parlor the same questions. His answers make me think maybe he’ll be the comic relief in the minivan. They’re followed by a video of “Black Lights,” one of those evocative narratives songs I mentioned in the beginning of this piece, from his most recent album Radio Dial.
What made you decide to join this tour?
Dean approached me last Fall with the idea of this tour and I was very excited from the beginning. I mostly tour solo, which can be tough for a lot of reasons. I am really looking forward to getting to collaborate with these guys, and to be part of a show where we are presenting something cohesive and a little different. It feels like being on a team, taking what we each do and using that to build something new. I’ve had the chance to share the stage with Dean a few times, but this will be my first time playing with Eliot and Andy. All these guys are stellar songwriters and I am pretty damn honored to be joining them for this run. There are a hundred reasons big and small that I joined this tour — even just not having to walk into a Cracker Barrel and ask for “a table for one” is reason enough.
What’s your hometown? Where do you live now? Which town has more influence on your music?
I grew up in a small mill town called Hopedale, MA, about 40 miles south west of Boston. I now live in Brooklyn NY and have for the last eight years. I say both of these places have equal pull on my music. I’m working on a new record right now and most of those songs are about small towns, the cycles of small towns, and the people who live and grow up there. My town was a factory town, it had one of the largest looming and textile mills in the world during the late 19th/early 20th centuries, and then in the early 70’s the mill closed it’s doors due to competition overseas and rising costs. All these years later, the skeleton of the factory still sits vacant in the center of town. It’s a microcosm of the American story and there are so many towns with a similar tale, and this influences a lot of what I write about.
Do you have a favorite among the venues on this tour? Why?
We are pretty lucky on this run, all the venues are great. This will also be my first time playing in Atlanta and in Charlotte and I am really looking forward to those shows and to those new cities. Club Passim will always be home for me. When I first started, in high school, I would drive there each week for the chance to play the open mic. The best nights I’ve ever had playing music have been there and I can’t say enough about that room and Matt Smith, the manager there. Burlap and Bean is also very near and dear to me. Those two venues are like family, and I am looking forward to those shows immensely.
What are you most looking forward to on this tour?
I am actually looking forward to the van rides a lot. I am looking forward to listening to podcasts, working out arrangements, drinking gas station coffees and stinking up the van.
Tell us about your most recent record and/or the project your working on now. Where can we get your music?
I am working on my fifth album, recording here in Brooklyn. I am planning to have a release sometime in the early winter. You can find my music and tour dates on my website at www.jasonmylesgoss.com, as well as Facebook and Twitter. You can also get my music on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and Bandcamp.
Give me the single best reason people should come out to see this show.
Despite being in a van with four dudes, we will be bathing semi-regularly, so we will be smelling real good. I think that is worth a trip out.