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 42)
Origin Everett, Washington, United States
Genres Folk, punk, experimental, Gypsy punk, folk punk
Instruments vocals, accordion, guitar, piano
Labels Eleven Records
Associated acts Evelyn Evelyn
Big Little Dipper Dipper
Toast
Website http://www.jasonwebley.com/

Jason Webley is an American musician known for his fusion of folk, experimental, and alternative music. He began as a street performer, playing accordion in the streets of Seattle, Washington, and has released six albums to date.

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]

In the spring of 1998 Webley quit his day job and began busking.[4] He used to pretend to die every Halloween only to be born in the spring.[5]

Career[edit]

He released four albums using Springman Records as a distributor, but 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.[6] His sound has been compared to Tom Waits,[5] Vladimir Vysotsky,[7] Leonard Cohen,[5] and Bob Dylan.[8]

Some of Webley's most famous songs are the apocalyptic "Dance While the Sky Crashes Down" (which appears on his album Against the Night) and his most common show finale, "The Drinking Song" (which appears on Counterpoint).

Webley has a fascination with the number 11.[9] He's also known for incorporating vegetables into his performances.[10] His late 1990s model Toyota Corolla has been converted into a giant tomato. It is painted red, and used to have 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.

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

Monsters of Accordion[edit]

Webley is the brains behind the Monsters of Accordion tour, an all-accordion extravaganza that takes place on the West Coast.[12] 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.[13] 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).

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.[14]

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.

Discography[edit]

Collaborations[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

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. Retrieved 7 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "Jason Webley". Springman Records. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  5. ^ a b c Scanlon, Tom (November 1, 2002). "Jason Webley's giving death another go". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  6. ^ Scanlon, Tom (October 31, 2003). "'Happy Death Day' with Jason Webley". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Piper, Paul. "Jason Webley: A Man with an Accordion". Habits of Waste. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  8. ^ Rathbun, Andy (February 6, 2009). "Jason Webley's happy to play his hometown". HeraldNet. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  9. ^ Corazon, Billy (July 1, 2009). "Imaginary Interview: Jason Webley". Three Imaginary Girls. Retrieved 24 August 2009. 
  10. ^ Kerry Skemp (November 29, 2007). "Jason Webley at the Lily Pad". Bostonist. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  11. ^ "Goodbye, Jason". Flickr - Photo Sharing!. 
  12. ^ "Interview with Jason Webley". Let's Polka. August 20, 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  13. ^ Greg Majewski (August 29, 2009). "Monsters of Accordion to Play Luigi's". Sacramento Press. Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  14. ^ "Recordings". Jason Webley. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  15. ^ Webley, Jason. "The Pyramid at the Bottom of a Garbage Bin (Webstock talk, 2015)". Vimeo. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 

External links[edit]