Band: The Jane
Members: Russell Brooks, lead guitar, banjo, vocals; Sean Fifer, percussion and vocals; Ryan Lawton, bass; Denny Wedekind, rhythm guitar, mandolin and vocals
Who we talked to: Wedekind, 43
How did you guys meet/how long have you been performing together? We actually all met on baltimorebands.com. I used to live down in the Hunt Valley (Md.) area and everybody else is from Delta. I kind of joined into a bunch of guys (who) were the wreckage of another couple . . . bands. We got together, and we started doing some covers. Then, little by little, (we) started showing each other that we had . . . originals. We've been together . . . in various shapes and forms and different combinations for almost 10 years now. Sean and I also do a lot of acoustic shows together where he plays percussion and I play acoustic guitar.
How did you come up with the name? The name actually started out as Hazey Jane. It's a Nick Drake song. We were Hazey Jane in the beginning, and then we had that big classic breakup. We just became The Jane. The acoustic thing . . . is called Son of Jane.
Who are your influences? I've been playing for a really long time. I have recordings from high school. I was doing Neil Young songs. I listened to a lot of James Taylor, Neil Young, Crosby, Stills and Nash when I was a kid - all the singer/songwriter kind of guys. I got really into Richard Thompson, Wilco and The Jayhawks (and) that's kind of where some of our guitar work comes from. We kind of morphed into this Americana sound.
Describe your sound and style? We do a big mix of all kinds of stuff. Right now, we've been mostly playing out as Son of Jane. We have probably about 25 or 30 original songs. We kind of do a wide mix of covers. We don't pull out "Sweet Home Alabama" all the time or stuff like that. We go for more off-the-beaten-path kind of stuff.
Where do you guys get the inspiration for your songs? It's all right in the moment kind of stuff. (Our song "Move On") sounds like a really sweet, sappy song, but it's really about breaking up with a person and telling them, "Get out. I don't want to live with you anymore." I like to take regular situations - it might be something I'm going through or someone else is going through - and try to take it and make it into a wider thing that everybody can relate to. It's just from everyday stuff: Hating your job, going to work (and) wishing you had more time to do stuff. We even have a song on (MyRuralRadio.com) called "Russell Road," which is about Russell Brooks, the guitar player. His truck literally went over a cliff and smashed into the tree.
Was he pretty banged up? He wasn't in it. He had pulled up to come to band practice . . . and he got out of his truck and he left the emergency brake off. He saw it kind of heading down the hill and tried to jump in it, but couldn't get a hold of it. It just sailed all the way down the hill and into a tree. He was OK, but it made a funny song. We all cracked up writing it and singing it. I don't have that much of an imagination. It's got to kind of be right in front of me and in my lap to get a song.
Is it challenging to get the band together in addition to your day jobs? We all started out, and we had grand aspirations. We used to get a lot of air play . . . in Baltimore. We were dragging the band around on weeknights all over Baltimore, all over the general area. It just starts to wear you down. I'm the only one in the whole group . . . who doesn't have kids. It's the everyday life that creeps in . . . but we really do try to keep it going.
Any other side projects in the works? I just got signed with Al Roker Productions in New York, and I'm doing music for TV shows. I have a TV show that I'm the primary producer for that's coming on . . . Animal Planet and it's called "Last Chance Highway." We're getting involved with Jingle Punks up in New York that puts music into TV. We have a recording studio in Delta, and we're trying to work with the other artists (who) are on MyRuralRadio. We're hoping to kind of become a little production house. We have a full 24-track setup down there. Instead of being out and dragging everybody around all the time . . . we're kind of morphing more into a recording band.
Where do you play in the area? The Peach Bottom Inn is a place that we play pretty regularly now. We'll be playing at the Mason-Dixon Fair (July 14.) Our drummer just had a baby, so he's just kind of getting re-acclimated to regular life. I'm sure . . . we'll get things cranked up again. This beast always raises its head, then it ducks it (and) then it raises it again. I just kind of finished producing that group of songs on (MyRuralRadio for a CD called) "Delta." The only thing we have to do is just get the artwork together and the CD will be available very shortly. We have MyRuralRadio Records. It's a little imprint we're trying to get together. And then we'll start to hopefully get other artists onto it. (MyRuralRadio creator) Mike Males is starting to build a whole community that wasn't there. We're meeting a lot of good people though that.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF
If you go
The Jane will be playing July 14 at the Mason-Dixon Fair, 6988 Delta Road in Delta. For details, visit www.masondixonfair.com.
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