Having been born on the fertile soils of Friday Harbor the members of The Jesus Chords have finally made their way to the mean streets of Seattle and Gabe Keenan (guitar/vocals), Jonas Haskins (bass), Greg (guitar/vocals) and brother Eric Irving (drums) are playing music whenever and wherever they can. In an age when the term 'country' gets thrown around in such defined genres as Young Country, Alt-Country, Country Rock and American Music the idea of what country music started out as seems to have been lost, which was the song: simple and pure. Spawning from punk, noise, country and bluegrass roots, The Jesus Chords have used their collective influences and understanding of music to rediscover the principal of the simple. I sat down with Jonas and Gabe to talk about what they're all about. Tablet: How'd you come up with the name The Jesus Chords? Jonas Haskins: It came from a joke some friends and I had. We called camp songs Jesus chords - the first edition chords that you learn when you first learn to play guitar. So you can play 'Kumbaya' and songs like that. All the Jesus songs. Basic chords, I guess. The first songs that we wrote as aband were all like that so I said, 'Oh, these are Jesus Chords.' Gabe Keenan: There is something funny that happens because of playing all those first position chords. Sometimes we hear another instrument. All the guitars, just like a chorus, add up to more than the sum of it's parts. But about the name... a lot of times people think we are a religious band, but we're not. Tablet: Who are your biggest influences? JH: I think we have a lot of different influences. We listen to a lot of old school bluegrass and country records: Mississippi John Hurt, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Bill Monroe, lots of punk/garage music. GK: But I don't know how direct those are. Usually we're just trying to write simple songs, but somewhat interesting. Keeping simple chords but maybe making the structure funny. But all of our songs are usually about two minutes long. Tablet: Is there a reason they are only two minutes long? GK: No guitar solos. Tablet: Do you think you guys now have the same musical vision? GK: Personally, I think about making songs that are good the first time people hear them. Really simple lyrics that are clear, but convey some sort of meaning at the first listen. I think we're pretty much the same in the vein of how we write songs. JH: We also don't only do country songs. Our songs have a lot of differentGK: We're a monster with four heads. We're starting to understand how we all function as a unit. We change things around a lot. Greg can play trumpet. Jonas and Greg switch around, and everybody sings. There are no taboos for us. Through this, I think we've finally found the simple song. That's what we are working on. We're just trying to build on that and find out what you can do with it. As it turns out you can do a lot. To make the music float and to make it happen, f*** man, that's Jedi. To get like that, I think that's really the goal, just to get there. Wherever the f*** that is. Feels.
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