“After playing in local cover bands in Columbus, Ohio for over 20 years I decided I wanted to write some of my own songs and see what happens. I though I was writing country songs. But, after doing some recording, I realized the songs sounded nothing like what I though of as country. So, I asked one of my radio friends what exactly those songs were. He told me Alt. Americana. I couldn’t find Alt. Americana as its own genre so I began using the multiple genre description of Americana/Indie Folk,” says Jason Bennett about the originals on his debut EP, titled Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’.
Of the title track, Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’, more than one person has said in parts he sounds like Cat Stevens. “I’ve also been told I sound like one of the guys from Bare Naked Ladies. Actually, and I can’t remember which song it was, but at an acoustic cover gig, after playing one of my songs – yes I sneak my own songs in even when hired to play covers – a lady said I did a nice rendition of ‘that Bare Naked Ladies song.’ She was a little tipsy and she tipped me a 20, so I thanked her and moved on.”
Jason Bennett, took piano lessons starting at age eight. “I was classically trained. I learned to play piano growing up in the east suburbs of Cleveland. I hated taking piano lessons. I hated practicing. My friends would literally be waiting at my front door for me to finish practicing so we could go play. But, looking back I’m beyond grateful my parents made me practice. Without that I wouldn’t have the musical skills I have today.”
“I didn’t pick up the guitar until I was 19. Once I did though, I wanted to play really bad. I would sit in front of the TV with the guitar every night with my hands going back and forth between chords until I could play. I somehow ended up with a Roy Clark guitar book. Just dumb luck that his teachings were what I first learned with. I still to this day use the stylings from that book.”
Jason is now 51 years old. In a world of music where youth sells, he is unapologetic about his age and appearance. “This is a real gray beard. This is a real balding pony-tail. This is a real snack-cake gut. I’m deep into middle age; this is what men who are deep into middle age look like. That’s going to turn people away – I get it, but I’m not wanting to put a fake version of me out there, ” says Jason about what he calls his ‘homeless guy’ stage look.
Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’ is Jason Bennett’s intro of himself to the world. Of the originals, there are two songs about not being able to find love (Woe Is Me and No Rain); a song about the downfall of the rust belt town (Abandoned Town); and, a song about robbing a train (Train Robbery). Some of the lyrics are funny. Some of the lyrics are thought provoking. The title track is a cover of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic from the musical Oklahoma! (the exclamation point is in the title – not a misused punctuation). Jason arranged it and doing so created an engaging folky version.
“I wanted to be a rock star when I was younger. But, reality is I’m not a young person any more – rock star is not in the cards. Regardless, I’m going to keep playing and keep writing. As long as people want to listen I’ll keep doing it for them. When no one wants to listen any more, I’ll keep doing it for me.”