JR WOLF’s music is designed to be straight-forward, honest and simple, yet there is something enticingly complex about their debut effort when viewed from a wholistic level. The album’s tracks guide you through an intricately designed journey as notions of genre blur into the periphery.
The group starts out sounding like a rowdy electric American blues rock band and by the fourth song, cellos are the focal point. Later, there is a powerful and eerie instrumental waltz which showcases a virtuosic finger tapping metal style guitar performance. The song starts with a slow crescendo of squealing feedback layered over bagpipes and builds to a flurried attack of notes. Just at its most intense point, the sound drops out. Thunder claps and the album rolls into the next track, a heartbreaking ballad which highlights a soft, almost gospel like organ paired with an emotionally charged pedal steel guitar.
Jason Wolfe, JR WOLF’s songwriter, vocalist and rhythm guitarist, picks up seven different instruments for the last song on the album. “This song always wanted a rootsy, organic kind of feel. Light and happy and, like it could happen outside naturally; a bunch of friends in a circle. I ditched the drum kit and used Latin and African percussion instruments. Martin played an electric guitar, but we kept it real shimmery and tasteful. I used a Ukulele to bring that island feel up in the mix and a mandolin to boost the treble. Why not, right? Let’s throw in a mandolin!”
Martin Chaudhry was introduced by Jason’s cousin when he was looking for a bassist in the fall of 2008. Chaudhry, a guitarist, did not have any experience but he picked up the instrument in order to join the band. The original four-piece lineup recorded a low-fi original two song demo in Wolf’s living room in December 2008 with Chaudhry on bass.
2009 brought trials for the group as the band’s drummer stepped out in March and the original lead guitarist soon followed. In July, Jason’s cousin died in a tragic canoeing accident and the music project was put on hold. “It was a week after I started a new job as an assistant general manager at a restaurant”, Jason recalls. “By October, the restaurant had closed for business.”
Jason and Martin kept in contact. Late in the year the two got together, as they currently exist, with Jason on rhythm and Martin on lead. For a while the two played mostly for fun, developing Chaudhry’s parts for songs in Wolf’s personal catalog. They began to perform publicly in the summer months as JR WOLF, recruiting friends for help.
With a growing number of songs polished and ready, Jason felt it was time to get into the studio and work on bringing the true JR WOLF experience to light. He invested his life’s savings and got to work. Recording began in earnest in early 2012 and the album was produced over the course of the next year. Mastering was completed by Greg Calbi in 2013 and single/radio edits are currently pending.
JR WOLF is currently touring to raise awareness for the upcoming album release, scheduled for the fall of 2014. Shows are scheduled this spring and summer from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. This is the beginning.