Monday, December 22, 2008

"A Rebuilt Family Christmas" Available for Free Download!

Couldn't make it out to the Melting Point in Athens on December 4th, 2008 for "A Rebuilt Family Christmas?" No worries... we're podcasting most of it. It's a little rough around the edges, but then again, so are we.

Subscribe to the Rebuilt podcast through iTunes, or simply click here to download Part One (approx. 10 megs). Look for Part Two in a few days.

Part One features:
Jon Black: "Christmas Makes Me Happy"
Jim & The Beanstalks: "Let It Snow"
The Warm Fuzzies: "I Want An Alien For Christmas" and "The Grinch"
Micah Dalton: "Merry American Christmas"
Nathan Angelo: "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas/Christmas Song" medley

Part Two will feature:
Jonathan Rich, Natalie Moon, Jon Black, Paul Reeves, Micah Dalton, Ryan Horne, Pilot Coat, and more!

"A Rebuilt Family Christmas" Part Two Available for Free Download

Part Two of "A Rebuilt Family Christmas" is now available for free download - right click here to download the file (20 megs or so), here to listen online, and here to subscribe to the Rebuilt "Starving Artist" podcast through iTunes.

Here's the second half of the Christmas show:
Jonathan Rich & Natalie Moon: "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus"
Micah Dalton: "O Little Town of Bethlehem"
Ryan Horne: "Silent Night"
Jon Black: "What Child Is This?"
Natalie Moon: "I Wonder As I Wander" & "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
Jim & The Beanstalks: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings"
Paul Reeves: "Angels We Have Heard On High"
Pilot Coat: "O Come, All Ye Faithful"
Everyone: "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas"

*Scripture read by J. Bart Scarborough, Esq.

Monday, December 08, 2008

How was the Christmas Show?

Oh, I don't know... you tell me:

** For the sake of full disclosure...we were at the Rebuilt Family Christmas Show on Thursday night, and our waiter told us there were "no plastic cups" to be found at the Melting Point. He brought Molly's water in the JD cup. (I'm just glad she can't read...but we did get a hilarious picture out of it.)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

One More Rebuilt Christmas Plug

If you're in the Athens, GA area tomorrow night, I'd love for you to join us at the Melting Point for the 2nd Annual Rebuilt Family Christmas show featuring just about every Rebuilt artist, and a slew of other people we call family delivering tidings of good cheer and their own renditions of familiar (and not so familiar) Christmas tunes. Last year, we had a blast, and we're looking forward to an even better show this year!

Doors open at 6pm (it's also a restaurant so you can eat), with music from 8-10pm. The event is all-ages, it's smoke-free, and tickets are $5 advance (today's the last day! Click here to order!) or $8 at the door.

Here's the lineup (besides me, of course):

*Micah Dalton
*Jon Black
*Paul Reeves
*Natalie Moon
*Jonathan Rich/the Goodfight
*Nathan Angelo
*Ryan Horne
*Pilot Coat
*The Warm Fuzzies
*Jim & the Beanstalks

We're shooting video and capturing audio, but there really ain't no substitute for being there - hope you can make it!

- jason

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

CDs that smell like bubblegum?

I think I've mentioned this before on this blog, but to this point I haven't really elaborated on my most recent musical endeavor, the Warm Fuzzies. Today is special, so allow me a few words about the project.

I have always appreciated the little twists and turns in our lives that make things interesting. It never fails that when you least expect it, something bizarre, funny, ridiculous, or even horrible happens, and it reminds us that our best life plans may or may not even come close to what will really occur in our lives.

More to the point, my favorite band of all time is Weezer, partly because their first two albums are absolutely amazing, but mostly because I was in high school when those albums came out, and I have all kinds of emotional attachments to those songs. The best Weezer song of all time, by the way, is "The World Has Turned And Left Us Here" from the Blue Album. It's got that sweet, crunchy powerpop heft, but the acoustic guitar and love-lost lyrical content makes it feel both happy and sad at the same time. "Wistful," you could say. That's how I feel a lot - a sadness that things everyone I know and love is getting older and closer to death but an excitement and joy that we're all living out our days together in community. A little morbid? Let's move on...

So needless to say, Weezer's first two albums have had a huge impact on the music I love and the music I've always loved to play. In college, I picked up the acoustic guitar to avoid annoying everyone in my dorm, and for the next few years, it was the predominant instrument. I guess it still is, as I write most things on the lovely J-45 my even more lovely wife Jana gave to me as a wedding gift. But I always wanted to play some loud rock and roll, and thanks to the wonder of Myspace, I got the chance.

As it turns out, there was a man here in Athens who had also always wanted to play in a synthy powerpop band, and he came across some of my old "Flavor of the Week" songs and heard the first version of "Hey, Milunka" which was my blatant attempt at writing a Weezer-style tune. After exchanging emails, we started getting together regularly and writing songs, and over a year later (now with a full band and a handful of shows under our belts), here we are releasing our first recording, The Bubblegum EP today.

It's been a labor of love, and it's taken us the better part of a year to record it since we were tracking songs in our spare time. Jason Martin of Starflyer 59 mixed and mastered the disc, and since everyone in the band has graphic design in their veigns, we completely geeked-out on the packaging. The disc itself actually has a scratch and sniff coating that smells like bubblegum, and it comes in an eco-friendly recyclable cardboard "Bazooka Joe" style case with comic strip liner notes. We're really proud of how it turned out.

From the get-go, we have made a commitment to having fun with the Warm Fuzzies. We don't expect that we will ever play to thousands of people, and there may not be thousands of people who would really dig what we're doing. And that's cool, it's not really for everyone, I suppose. But just like my last days in art school when I got tired from everyone being so angst-ridden and depressed all the time, I think sometimes you just want to turn the amp up and kick out some jams about close talkers, Eastern European penpals, and robots. We've got a lot of anxiety these days, but it's good to remember that laughter adds years to our lives and makes things bearable.

If you'd like to hear the EP, you can stream the whole thing at, and if you'd like to have your own CD that smells like bubblegum, you can also order one there, too. They make good stocking stuffers.

And if you're in Athens and you don't have anything to do tonight, we're playing our official release show at Caledonia with Jonathan Rich of the Goodfight and Farewell Flight of Harrisburg, PA. Doors are at 10, it's 18+ and $5.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm proud to be an American

I saw this commercial on my flight to Las Vegas this past weekend, and after failed attempts at describing its ridiculosity to my wife Jana, I gave up on ever having someone else share the experience with me.

Until now. Thanks to modern technology (and my friend Erik Kriebel), you, too, can experience a commercial so real it's beyond fake.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Albums You Need To Know...

It's shameless promotion day here at my blog, and I feel no shame because these three recordings are three recordings that I think are among the best albums of 2008. Yeah, I'm biased because I've been involved with each one of these projects, but I've chosen to be involved because I've fallen in love with what these guys are doing. So with absolutely no guilt or pressure, I earnestly encourage you to check out these artists here on Myspace or elsewhere, and if you like what you hear, I encourage you to spend a little money on them so they can continue to make new recordings (which, by the way, is how I think it should be).

Jon Black, Goodbye Golden Age (Released Today!)
Jon is one of those guys who never fails to impress me when he does something new. I always look forward to receiving new demos from him because I know that when I do I'm going to be blown away. Of course, I also get angry because I want those songs on a finished album RIGHT THEN. It's a complicated emotion. In the case of Goodbye Golden Age, I knew when I heard "Broken Places" that Jon was going to make an amazing album. You see, a lot of people live under the impression that you can use a bunch of studio tricks to make something that's not so great into something made of solid gold, but much like cooking, what you get out is due mostly to the quality of what you put in. If a song is great as a demo with just a vocal and a scratch instrument, in just about all cases, it will be great with full accompaniment. And this album is full of those kinds of songs. And now, as I hear them in their fleshed out versions, that feeling just gets better. I can't really pick a favorite because it really just depends on what's going on in life at the time, and I think that's good because it means there's something on here for all situations and moods. You can hear the whole album here at and purchase it here or here on iTunes.

Paul Reeves, Winter's Over, (Released 9.9)
I can't really say enough about Paul. He's the man responsible in large part for the quality of albums Rebuilt has released this year. In fact, except for Micah's Pawnshop album, at least half of every other Rebuilt release was recorded at Paul's DOMUS studio. He's either engineered, edited, produced, or played on all these recordings, and usually a combination of a few of those. Clearly, the man has a strong work ethic.

But while you may know about Paul's recording side, you may not know as much about Paul's own music. And you should get acquainted, especially if you're a fan of really good pop songwriting. I tend to hate most pop songwriting; I find most of it contrived, self-absorbed, and whiny (and I realize that makes me a music snob, and that's fine. You're free to listen to whatever you'd like), and I love that Paul is writing in a style that is both really catchy and really deep. Who says you can't have form and substance? I know that others are loving songs like "Mystery" and "Put Me Down" the best, and while I do love them, I think my favorite moments on the album are the more subdued and vulnerable tracks like "Love Has Won" and "Dust and Steam." If you're glued to your Blackberry or can't get off Facebook or are working 80 hours a week and living in your car, you need to hear "Dust and Steam." It's your song. It's a song about me, for sure. Visit Paul here on Myspace, at his official website, and purchase the album here on or here on iTunes.

David Herndon, Into Danger/Out of Rescue (January 08)
I've already written about this EP, and since I co-produced it with Paul, I'm REALLY biased about this one. David and I were in a band together in college (I'll give you five points if you can remember which one), and I've looked up to him as an older brother of sorts. I love his music, but mostly I love what he's about. Guys like David make me a better person because I am always challenged to put myself in those soul-stretching places that lead to real personal and spiritual growth. People have given David a lot of flack for calling a song "A Church or A Brothel" and for including the words "porn director" in his lyrics, and while they're certainly free to feel how they want to feel about that, I contend that most of those people have not taken the time to really hear what David is talking about. Rash judgments make long wars. I wish more folks realized that art that tells you what to think is not really art at all but propaganda. David's music is among the most Christian art I know, and I'm not afraid to defend it. So put the rocks down, judge the tree by the fruit, and listen for yourself. Then by all means feel however you want to feel about it - that's the joy of freedom.

And now you can download it for free or pay what you want for it. And if you do like what you hear and you feel like I do that what David is doing is important in the conversation of faith and culture, I encourage you to post this widget on your own social network pages, blogs, etc. to help spread the word. You can keep up with David's journey here on Myspace, at and at

Okay, I'm off my soapbox. Thanks for reading/listening/being.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Am I Building Something Better?

While I've been writing for new record that has no title, studio schedule, or release date, I do have a new release on iTunes. Well, kind of. It's actually one of my oldest releases, my first full-length album entitled Building A Better Me. I have mixed emotions about it being there.

All of us (read: "musicians") have one of these albums; the kind that you're almost ashamed has your name on it. The kind that you, the person whose voice comes through the speakers, absolutely refuses to listen to under any circumstances. The kind of recording that inspires you, the artist, to institute some kind of "buy back" program or a CD swap just to get them off the streets. You know, the kind of albums that just aren't very good.

At least to you, the artist.

I recorded Building A Better Me in September of 2001, right after 9/11. It was a weird, uncertain time for me (as it was for all of us), and with trepidation and some anxiety, I boarded a plane in Atlanta and flew to Corona, CA to spend a weekend in the studio. Three days later on my way home I had to connect out of Chicago, but because some moron at LAX left their bag unattended - shutting down the entire airport for three hours while the bomb squad investigated - I missed my connection, which just happened to be the last flight out that night. With night already upon me, and not really sure how to get back to O'Hare if I left - seriously, that place makes no sense - I played it "safe" and spent the night on a bench in the Delta ticketing area and waited for my flight. Plus, my flight left at 6 am, and it was nearly 10 pm when I got there, and figuring security would take me an eternity seeing as our country was on lock-down, it just didn't seem worth it to me to leave when I'd just get to a hotel and sleep for three hours and get back at the airport at 4am. But I digress.

I remember laying on that bench, trying to sleep (but ultimately being unable to) and wondering about my future. About our future as a country and a free society. I wondered about the value of what I had just done; being in the studio making music just didn't seem all that important at that point. Cold and tired, I just felt like most of what I was doing then - trying to do well in grad school and do something with music to help others - didn't do it for me.

So, looking ahead to the day we celebrate our freedom, I wonder to myself, "Are we building something better?" Here, nearly seven years since I slept in that airport terminal with all those questions, am I looking into a better future?


But that, to me, has little to do with elections or politics or music or culture and absolutely everything with that ever-deepening realization that while I am "free" to a lot of things, there is actually very little that I can even control, and that reality is freeing. Sure, there are days when I feel angry or spiteful that I cannot with my own two hands stop people from killing themselves or each other. That I can't stop fathers from abusing their daughters. That I can't keep the costs of fuel or staple foods down, and I surely can't end a war, help everyone who needs it, or bring home a National Championship for the Bulldogs. But then there are the days when i realize that "freedom" means that I am not asked to do all of these things. It is not up to me to fix everything at once, and certainly not on my own efforts alone. I can hardly pick out clothes to wear, much less solve a nation's problems or cure something like "poverty." But I can do the best I can to look ahead and continue to build, to make something better. Jesus said we'll always have the poor among us, which means our help will always be needed.

Am I building something better? A better me, if you will? No. I can't. I simply cannot make myself better. But if I do the things that make things better for others - treat others with respect, make giving a priority and a habit, laugh when things are funny, lament when things are hard, run a fair business, write honest music, etc. - then I think I can contribute to a culture, a nation, and a world that is maybe better for all of us. That's a bit "We Are The World," but I'm okay with that.

I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes it is the effort that counts. Not to say that we have no responsibility for what comes of our effort, but to say that if we make our attitudes that of service, kindness, and compassion, what comes of our trying will be good. And when it's good, we also see that we really had nothing to do with it and that the burden to fix people was never really ours to bear. We just need to keep showing up, and it just works out in some way.

Building A Better Me is an album that I still receive encouraging emails about from time to time. And though I hear it for its faults, I guess a handful of others don't. And so it went that I decided to put my pride down a little bit and allow this record out a little farther out to be heard. It has my name on it, and I made it, and it's a part of my story. My friends David and Natalie both have albums out (or in Natalie's case, coming out in two weeks) that deal mainly with the fact that small things add up to big changes, and making the Better Me album - however imperfect I may think it to be - made Rebuilt Records a reality. And hopefully, we're adding something of value to this world. And at the risk of being REALLY cheesy, I think that's how we are as people, too. We fail to see our own worth because we focus on what's not so great, but despite our shortcomings, we have the capacity to make things much better for others. So there you have it, a justifiable reason for putting that old album on iTunes.

But if no one buys it, I'll be okay with that, too.

It's got to go somewhere, right?

I've been trying really hard in this election season to remember the things the internet has taught us: 1. Don't read the comments...