His sound: Rocker turned singer-songwriter
For fans of: Neil Finn, Paul Westerberg
Jason Slatton wrote his own headline for this feature: “Guy who used to play in much louder, occasionally faster bands slows down a bit and is perhaps easier on your ears. Perhaps.”
The Athens, Georgia, native once shared stages with Widespread Panic, Bright Eyes, Lucinda Williams, Verbena, and the Drive-By Truckers. He made records, toured, heard himself on the radio, signed autographs, and “barely made a living” with the Lures and Randall Bramblet. In the early 2000s, though, he got off the road to start a “next chapter” of life and eventually married, started teaching literature, and welcomed a daughter into the world.
It was her birth that inspired his new album, We Are Nighttime Travelers. In this season of life, Slatton found himself wanting to make music, but not like he used to. As he says in “And She Goes On”—which he recorded with his wife, Kristi Houk, on vocals too—it’s about “dismantling and then beginning.” “Anyone who has had a child can tell you about literal or figurative nighttime ‘travelling,’” he says. “Maybe it’s also about looking back and taking stock of some things I left in the rearview mirror.”
The album title comes from a short story by one of Slatton’s favorite writers, Ethan Canin. Slatton had already played some “quiet” shows with Janet Simpson-Templin (vocals, keyboard), so he recruited her along with Les Nuby (bass, drums)—who was “literally next door”—and Jason Hamric (guitar, production, engineering), the “backbone” of the album.
Slatton is always drawing inspiration from life, what he reads, and the literature he teaches to write music. What results he leaves up to interpretation: “I don’t want to put too fine a point on what the songs do or say, though. That’s up to the listener. I know what they mean to me, or my wife, but that’s for us. Once it leaves me, I don’t get a say, in my opinion.”
- Hear more local artists in our full Magic City Mix 2016.
- Eugenius Neutron
- The Burning Peppermints
- Anna Thomical of Zenosyne
- Rashid Qandil
- Jason Slatton
- Ashley Sankey and Company
- Creature Camp
- In Snow
- Lee Shook
- Gary Wheat
- Chris Hendrix