Success has been ten years in the making for Jason Kirkness. His first tour dates as a solo artist stem back to 2007 when he was transitioning from a touring classic rock/country/casino act living his “life on the road” to becoming the country music recording artist he is today. Fast forward ten years; with more then two full years as a resident of Music City, Nashville, TN, one full album, two EP’s and a live album have brought Kirkness to the point where he’s ready to release a new album, A Beautiful Disaster and its first single “Whiskey Kiss.”
Jason sent along his new single for us to have a listen, we really liked it and decide to do a little interview and feature on him. His new album “Beautiful Disaster” drops May 30th, 2017.
Here is what he had to say.
Jenn: Did you write “Whiskey Kiss”?
Jason: On my new album “A Beautiful Disaster” I have co-writing credits on 8 of the 11 songs. How Whiskey Kiss came along is a bit of a funny story. I was doing an A&R job for a Mexican soap opera star who wanted to make a country record. He hired a producer from Los Angeles to record his record and they went and got submissions from the publishers around Nashville and LA. They had about 2000 songs to listen to. So i got hired to listen to all of them and submit my favourite 30. I heard this one and immediately was playing air guitar. By the chorus I was rocking out so hard that I went running through the living room and I leapt up on the couch and did a massive scissor kick in the air and in that moment I though “I should totally record this song”. They listened to Whiskey Kiss and felt it would be better suited to a younger artist and suggested i cut it. It turns out it was from the publisher I was already working with and they in short, said yes. It was written by Nicky Chinn who was in the band Sweet and wrote “Ballroom Blitz” and about a billion other Top 40’s and Matt Bronleewe who was in Jars of Clay and wrote “Flood” and Ben Glover who has won Grammy’s for his work as a songwriter.
Jenn: What is “Whiskey Kiss” about?
Jason: If i had to say.. it’s about getting drunk and making out? .. in a nutshell.
Jenn: Who are some of your musicial influences?
Jason: I quite literally could be here all day talking about that. I mean really young i loved every kind of music there was. I grew up with my dad that liked Zeppelin and Santana and Jerry Reid and Alabama and John Denver and Black Sabbath and a whole lot of Christian rock like Petra and Rez Band. My best friends dad used to jam with us and we got into Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash and CCR that way. I was in piano lessons and I loved a lot of the composers that I learned. I love Waylon Jennings so completely and i don’t think there was a bigger influence on me for country music until Keith Urban’s Golden Road came along. In the 90’s i listened to Nirvana over and over and really loved the layered sounds of the smashing pumpkins. Pearl Jam was big because Eddie Vedder could really connect with an audience without doing anything and Chris Cornell got me right through the heart with his lyrics.
I guess the other thing that happened with that much music is that i grew up without genre. No one ever said “This is country” or “This is pop” or “This is rock” .. they were all just songs I either did or didn’t like and i never felt pressure to conform to liking only one of them. I’m sure throughout my career and from my first few records, people didn’t immediately connect with all the songs because in a lot of ways they don’t traditionally fit with what a country artist is. I think the most fun thing about the records that I make is that they take a few listens to sort of absorb all the layers and all the people who take the time to do that end up really really liking the music.
Jenn: You are playing main stage at Dauphin’s Countryfest. How does that feel?
Jason: This is a big thing for any artist, and especially me. I sort of touched on why in the previous question. As an artist who hasn’t necessarily had a “hit” song on radio, and who has built a career on doing things the hard way, but in a way that maintains a clear direction, Dauphin and the amazing people that work there get me. Manitoba and my fans here, really get what i’m doing. I did the songwriter circle with Charlie Major, Brett Kissel and Gord Bamford 2 years ago, and I did a song called “Leavin’” and got a standing ovation. It was truly incredible to be on stage with those men and have that happen, but I think that it’s the sort of thing that happens when people truly fall in love with your art. This year I have a one hour, full band, main stage performance spot and I couldn’t be more honoured that Countryfest, and Manitoba believe in me.
Jenn: What’s on your current playlist?
Jason: I listen to everything to this day. I really love the new Dierks Bentley album “Black” and I think “Riser” still gets at least one play a week. He’s so incredibly talented. I love the Chief, Eric Church and still haven’t quite absorbed the millions of amazing layers Jay Joyce puts into every single Eric Church song when he’s producing. I love a band called the Lone Bellow from New York and i’m a Twin Forks fan. I like an artist called Joey Landreth who made an amazing record with his brother and a few friends called The Bros. Landreth. I listen to some electronic music and like a group called Odesza. I have a 32 GB phone and it doesn’t have room for pictures.. it’s all music.
Jenn: What are your plans for the summer?
Jason: I have a busy summer schedule with a lot of festival dates and I can’t wait to play each of those. Then i am going to start working on the next video and single release for the fall. My girlfriend Sarah, finished film school this year and she and I made the video for Whiskey Kiss. I think she’s going to be a talented director in the future and we have plans to work on a few more songs. We’ll see which one comes out the best.
Jenn: Any plans to come to the East Coast in the near future?
Jason: The greatest shame of my life is that i have never been east of Sherbrooke, Quebec. I’m sorry East Coast.. I have never met you. I promise to fix that soon!
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