Jason Webley

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Jason Webley
Threewebleys.jpg
Jason Webley in 2006 at the Oregon Country Fair
Background information
Born (1974-06-01) June 1, 1974 (age 45)
OriginEverett, Washington, United States
GenresFolk, punk, experimental, Gypsy punk, folk punk
Instrumentsvocals, accordion, guitar, piano
LabelsEleven Records
Associated actsEvelyn Evelyn
Big Little Dipper Dipper
Toast
Websitehttp://www.jasonwebley.com/

Jason Webley is an American musician known for his sincere fusion of folk, experimental, and alternative music. Webley plays the guitar and accordion, sometimes providing percussion by stomping or shaking a plastic vodka bottle filled with coins. Webley began his career performing solo, but has collaborated with a wide range of artists. He has also organized several commemorative concerts and events memorializing everything from tragedies in his hometown of Everett, Washington to tomatoes.

Early life[edit]

Webley is originally from Everett, Washington.[1] In high school, Webley played in a punk band called Moral Minority. He picked up the accordion in 1996 in his last year in college at the University of Washington when he was part of a performance of Bertolt Brecht's play The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and wrote a couple of songs for the play on the accordion.[2] He later recalled, "I was just a geeky kid; accordion came later. It's since playing accordion that I've become cool. I used to be a geek with an electric guitar. I had a guitar and played in punky bands and I had a computer. I sequenced stuff. I was much geekier."[3]

Career[edit]

In the spring of 1998 Webley quit his day job and began busking.[4] Later that year he recorded the album Viaje in his kitchen and independently released it. In 1999, Webley releasedAgainst the Night, which would become one of his most popular albums. Against the Night includes "Last Song" and "Dance While the Sky Crashes Down," which would be staples of his live performances for the next two decades.

Webley's first four albums were released or re-released by Springman Records, but he now owns his own record label, Eleven Records, and sells his merchandise via website or at concerts.

Webley plays various instruments on his albums, including guitar, accordion, piano, marimba, and glockenspiel; when he tours, however, he usually only brings his guitar, an accordion, and a vodka bottle filled with coins from around the world. He has been known to do short tours with a backing band. Webley has performed at several festivals, including Burning Man, Glastonbury Festival, VanFest, and the Oregon Country Fair.[5] His sound has been compared to Tom Waits,[6] Vladimir Vysotsky,[7] Leonard Cohen,[6] and Bob Dylan.[8]

Webley's music and live performances reflect his eclectic personality. Webley has a fascination with the number 11.[9] References to the number can be found throughout his discography. He also performed a special commemorative concert on November 11th, 2011.

Webley was also once known for incorporating vegetables into his performances.[10] He once owned a late 1990s model Toyota Corolla that had been converted into a giant tomato. It was painted red, and had a green fiberglass stem attached to the roof of the car (until the stem was stolen).[11] He reported at a concert that his beloved Toyota had "passed away" around January 18, 2011. Webley's vegetable fixation is no longer a main element of his live performances.

From 2000 to 2004 Webley pretended to die every Halloween only to be born in the spring.[6]

In May 2014 Jason Webley performed the songs 'Promise To The Moon' as well as 'These and More Than These' by Joseph Fink; while doing a series of live shows with the show Welcome to Night Vale, as well as writing an original song as the character Louie Blasco on the podcast.[12]

In 2011, Webley scaled back his touring schedule and started focusing more on other projects. He still performs annually at some venues such as the Oregon Country Fair.

Monsters of Accordion[edit]

Webley organized the Monsters of Accordion tour, an all-accordion extravaganza that took place on the West Coast.[13] The tour came together when Webley was invited to play at an accordion shop in Oakland, and met two Bay Area accordionists, Daniel Ari and Aaron Seeman. They decided to do an accordion-only tour, which was the first Monsters of Accordion.[14] The tour has since featured such accordionists as Corn Mo, Geoff Berner, Amy Denio, Mark Growden, (former Gogol Bordello member) Stevhen Iancu, and Eric Stern (frontman of Vagabond Opera).

Margaret[edit]

In 2014 Webley released, Margaret, a collaborative album commemorating Margaret Rucker, the daughter of a prominent Everett family. The album was sparked by Webley's fascination with Rucker's pyramidal tomb and his friends discovery of one of Rucker's scrapbooks in a California dumpster.[15][16] The album was released along with a book and six live shows were performed up and down the West Coast. The project was funded via a Kickstarter Campaign.[17]

One Hundred Years Ago Tomorrow[edit]

In 2016 Webley once again turned to crowdfunding to co-create an album centered on Everett's history. This time the focus was the Everett Massacre. The album commemorated the centennial of the massacre. It was performed live at the historic Everett Theater one day before the centennial (hence the title, One Hundred Years Ago Tomorrow).[18][19]

Flotsam River Circus[edit]

In 2017, Webley began organizing a floating circus on the Willamette River. After his father became ill the project was delayed for two years. In the summer of 2019, the Flotsam River Circus finally set sail from Corvallis, Oregon after performing at the Oregon Country Fair. Shows were performed at waterfront parks with a homemade barge serving as the stage.[20]

Collaborations[edit]

Webley (right) and Amanda Palmer as Evelyn Evelyn.

Webley has announced that there will be a series of 11 collaborative projects between him and his songwriter friends, and each recording will be limited to 1,111 numbered copies. He has thus far collaborated with Jay Thompson, Andru Bemis, Reverend Peyton, and Sxip Shirey.[21]

In September 2007, Webley collaborated with Amanda Palmer to release Evelyn Evelyn's debut EP Elephant Elephant via Webley's Eleven Records.

After a December 2007 concert at Hampshire College, Webley and Hampshire student Professor Science collaborated on a song about mittens known as "The Mitten Opera". Webley repeated this tradition the following two nights, first after a concert at Bard College, where he and a group of students collaborated on a song called "Clown Car to Mulberry", then at Sarah Lawrence College, where Webley and almost the entire audience performed the hardcore punk-inspired "Bad Milk". All three songs are available on YouTube.

At a concert at The Saint in Asbury Park, New Jersey in January 2009, Webley was joined on stage by Calamity Menagerie to perform "Ways To Love" and "Quite Contrary" – a song he rarely plays at live shows.

In December 2011, Webley announced the intention to make his back catalogue available as paid downloads online on the website BandCamp.

In February 2018, Webley announced the release of the new Amanda Palmer music video "Judy Blume" which he directed.[22]

Discography[edit]

Solo Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected information
Title Album details
Viaje
Against the Night
  • Released: 1999
  • Label: 11 Records
    Springman Records (2003 re-release)
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Counterpoint
  • Released: 2002
  • Label: 11 Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Only Just Beginning
  • Released: 2004
  • Label: 11 Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
The Cost of Living
  • Released: 2007
  • Label: 11 Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP

Live albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected information
Title Album details
In This Light - Live at Bear Creek
  • Released: November 11, 2011
  • Label: 11 Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download (Bandcamp exclusive)

Collaborative Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected information
Title Album details
Evelyn Evelyn (with Amanda Palmer)
  • Released: March 30, 2010
  • Label: 11 Records, 8 ft.
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
Margaret
  • Released: 2014
  • Label: 11 Records
  • Formats: CD + Book
100 Years Ago Tomorrow
  • Released: December 6, 2016
  • Label: 11 Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download (Bandcamp exclusive)

Collaborative extended plays[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • Electric Blanket (with Amanda Palmer) (2018)
  • House of Eternal Return (with Amanda Palmer) (2018)

Bibliography[edit]

  • von Buhler, Cynthia; Palmer, Amanda; Webley, Jason (2011). Evelyn Evelyn (illustrated ed.). Diamond Comic Distributors. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-59582-578-0.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kiley, Brendan. "Jason Webley and Friends Resurrect Margaret Rucker, the Mysterious Millionaire Poet They Found in a Dumpster". The Stranger.
  2. ^ Yeaman, Rabia (September 10, 2007). "Jason Webley Monsters of Accordian". KBOO.fm (Podcast). KBOO Community Radio. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
  3. ^ Doran, Bob (May 3, 2007). "A plastic vodka bottle full of pennies". THE HUM. North Coast Journal. Archived from the original on 26 January 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  4. ^ "Jason Webley". Springman Records. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  5. ^ Scanlon, Tom (October 31, 2003). "'Happy Death Day' with Jason Webley". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  6. ^ a b c Scanlon, Tom (November 1, 2002). "Jason Webley's giving death another go". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  7. ^ Piper, Paul. "Jason Webley: A Man with an Accordion". Habits of Waste. Archived from the original on 10 June 2010. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  8. ^ Rathbun, Andy (February 6, 2009). "Jason Webley's happy to play his hometown". HeraldNet. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  9. ^ Corazon, Billy (July 1, 2009). "Imaginary Interview: Jason Webley". Three Imaginary Girls. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  10. ^ Kerry Skemp (November 29, 2007). "Jason Webley at the Lily Pad". Bostonist. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  11. ^ "Goodbye, Jason". Flickr - Photo Sharing!.
  12. ^ Sendejas Jr., Jesse (July 14, 2017). "Jason Webley: Welcome to Night Vale Sure Beats Busking". Houston Press. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Interview with Jason Webley". Let's Polka. August 20, 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  14. ^ Greg Majewski (August 29, 2009). "Monsters of Accordion to Play Luigi's". Sacramento Press. Archived from the original on 4 October 2009. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
  15. ^ Kiley, Brendan (December 10, 2014). "Jason Webley and Friends Resurrect Margaret Rucker, the Mysterious Millionaire Poet They Found in a Dumpster". The Stranger. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  16. ^ Brown, Andrea (October 1, 2018). "Rucker tomb: The giant granite wonder of Everett". Everett Herald. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  17. ^ Muhlstein, Julie (July 29, 2014). "The rescued story of one of Everett's daughters continues to be told". Everett Herald. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  18. ^ Smith, Rick (Nov 4, 2016). "Tonight: NW Musicians Revisit the "Everett Massacre" in 100 Years Ago Tomorrow". The Stranger. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  19. ^ Kiley, Brendan (November 3, 2016). "In the key of blood: Concert marks centennial of Everett Massacre". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  20. ^ Muhlstein, Julie (July 12, 2019). "Artistry afloat: Jason Webley takes to the river in Oregon". Everett Herald. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Recordings". Jason Webley. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  22. ^ https://twitter.com/jasonwebley/status/963060436454187009

External links[edit]