With elements of folk, classic country, southern rock and soul, Jesse Brewster has been dubbed as one of the new breed of the musical working class heroes. His third album, March of Tracks (release date, August 26, 2014) was recorded as one song per month for 12 months, with each song being released monthly as a digital download to his fans.
As with most indie artists, Brewster was trying to figure out how to make his record stand out in a sea of music. As the process of the new record began, he initially planned to release one single as a teaser, followed by the rest of the album later in the year. “All that momentum you build up for months while you track, mix master and create artwork is released at one time with a full album release“ said Brewster, “ There’s this huge push and is seems like it’s over so fast and then you find yourself scrambling to keep attention on the album.”
Brewster started searching outside of the box for a way to record the new record. “The more I looked at the construction of the songs I had and the number of people I wanted to work with, the more it made sense to release the tracks one at a time allowing me to tailor each song to my vision.” Releasing the first track in March of 2013, the project, March of Tracks was born.
Using five different studios and twenty-one of his favorite musicians and engineers allowed the artist a certain freedom as he handpicked his favorite players for each song that played to their individual strengths. “One consistent response from listeners to the singles has been that they really understand the feeling and vibe that I’m trying to convey with each song, “ said Brewster. And as a compilation, the music also stands up. For example, if you put the song “Chesapeake” side by side with Brewster’s track “Can’t Keep a Good Man Down” you’ll hear that they are very different songs, but each paints a picture that is very clear and yet they still mesh together.
March of Tracks is a record of big sounding Americana tracks countered with heartfelt ballads. The opening song, “Make or Break” is a gritty rocker about the open road, taking chances and putting everything on the line. “Circles” is a more melancholy rocker that pulls at the heartstrings and chronicles Brewster’s struggle with insomnia, while “Left to Lose” is a ballad about letting a love go.
“Waiting for my Chance” was the first song to be released and is an uplifting song of desire and persistence with a catchy chorus and cool slide guitar riffs. “World Closing In” is a playful Gypsy-jazz Americana song replete with mandolin, fiddle, upright bass, 6-string banjo and acoustic. Long time band mate James DePrato co-produced this song. “Can’t Keep a Good Man Down” is an infectious funky groove that is musically fun; the rich backbeat of soulful bass and drums push the twangy guitar hook to the forefront. This song was recorded remotely by each musician sharing their tracks on dropbox.
“Chesapeake “was inspired by Brewster’s deep Mayflower roots—his grandfather to the nth power was William Brewster, the “Pilgrim Father”. “Innocent Sinners” is a bluegrass/folk coming of age tale set in the south with soaring 4-part harmonies and rich imagery. “One more Moment” –written on the road over the last couple of tours, this dark acoustic track is all vibe with only guitar and vocals.
Brewster’s Father used to sit around the house strumming guitar, which inspired the young artist. Trying to learn guitar chords at seven years of age was a challenge, but by nine Brewster had rifled through a Bob Dylan songbook and taught himself the song, “Don’t Think Twice.” By the age of twelve he started his first band with his brother Jim and drums and childhood friend, Uriah Duffy (who went on to play for Whitesnake) on bass. Brewster went on as an accomplished guitarist who spent a number of years supporting other artists.
He was motivated to move on to his own career by a charity event that hit home. He created his debut album, Confessional, as a benefit record to raise funds and create awareness of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). Brewster’s family struggles with the disease-- not only does he have it himself, his father has had a kidney transplant as a result of the disorder and in 1998 his brother passed away from of the disease.
In 2006 the artist released his second record, The Jesse Brewster Band, which was followed by the EP All She deserves in 2008. One of his songs from the EP, “My Great Escape” had the distinction of being used by CNN in their coverage of the 2012 Presidential campaign. Earning a name for himself, the artist was tagged a Bay Area “Artist to Watch” and became a regular in rotation at radio stations KFOG and KALX. 2011 saw Brewster releasing the critically acclaimed, Wrecking Ball at the Concert Hall, which veteran journalist Bill Kopp described as “miles above what passes for country” and Popmatters declared, “a brilliant showcase for (Brewster’s) strong songwriting ability and soulful vocal.”
“I know that it’s about the journey, not the destination and I try to live each day that way which is one of the meanings of March of Tracks,” he says. Writing songs that have emotions, dynamics and feel, Brewster shoots for integrity with each and every song. “It could be a barn burning, twangy, hard hitting anthem, or a sweet acoustic ballad—as long as I feel I’m being honest and trying to connect with the listener, I’m happy.”