Trail Mix – Jesse Payne

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Alabama singer/songwriter Jesse Payne returns with another collection of sonic paintings.

Birmingham, Alabama, is fast becoming one of my favorite Southern musical cities.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. Banditos. Duquette Johnston. All of these artists hail from Birmingham. This blue collar town in central Alabama – also home to the Sloss Music & Arts Festival – is now a hot bed for some of the best in Southern music.

Go ahead and add Jesse Payne to the list above.

Payne will be releasing his latest record, Heirloom, on August 14th. A self-described “audio painter,” Payne treats his guitar more like a paint brush. His songs are sonic landscapes, vivid and lush, nearly tactile in their depth.

Having spent much time with Jesse Payne’s new record, I can attest that it is aptly named. This is certainly a collection of tunes that will be willingly passed on for years to come.

I recently chatted with Jesse about heirlooms, the new record, and favored outside spaces.

BRO – This record was a long time in the making. How does if feel now that it is coming out?

JP – Yes, it was! It’s a bit surreal, and the excitement has been building for quite some time. I can’t wait for it to finally see the light of day!

BRO – Your music makes me want to get outside. Do you have a favorite outdoor getaway?

JP – Smith Lake in Alabama is a place that my family has gathered for years. A lot of good memories and beautiful scenery. I feel at peace when I am there.

BRO – We are featuring “Ravens” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?

JP – I’m fascinated with birds, specifically owls and corvids. While I was writing for Heirloom, I had listened to a report done on a study that explains how corvids can understand the concept of time passing. One of the observations was that ravens would stash food in a secure location and would return to it after a period of time. If the bird noticed someone or something untrustworthy watching while it buried the stash, it would return fifteen minutes later and move the stash. I felt this was quite apropos to some things that I have recently survived. This song is about me realizing that it’s time I moved my stash.

BRO – The title of the record is Heirloom. Have any family heirlooms in your possession that you hold dear?

JP – I have quite a few. My family is big on passing down history from one generation to the next. I was raised in this atmosphere, so even me believing in passing down history is a family heirloom within itself. One of my favorite heirlooms that I have is my great-grandfather’s Masonic ring. My grandmother gave it to me just before she passed. I think of her every time I see it.

BRO – Along the same lines, what might an heirloom be that you would like to leave behind?

JP – My brother gave me a beautiful book with an owl head on the cover a few years ago. It was full of blank pages. I use it to write down all of my finished lyrics from songs that have been released. Hopefully, by the time I leave it behind, there won’t be as many blank pages.

Want to hear a little of what Jesse Payne is offering on the new record? Bounce on over to this month’s Trail Mix and take a listen to “Ravens.”

Plans for a big tour celebrating the release of Heirloom are coming together. However, if you are in or around Birmingham on August 15th, you can catch Jesse at Saturn Birmingham.

For more information on Jesse, tour dates, or how you can find a copy of the new record, check out his website.


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