Jason Gambill – “Slim” – was born in a trailer park in Omaha, Nebraska, in a family of modest financial means. His father worked in construction; consequently, the family often traveled from one location to another, de¬pending on where he would find his next gig. Eventually, the family settled in Colorado Springs, Colorado by the time Slim was nine. At around that time, he received his first guitar from his grandmother. Richie Havens, Alvin Lee, and Jimi Hendrix would forever change Slim’s love for guitar playing after watching
Woodstock: The Movie
As he experimented and perfected his craft, Slim formed and belonged to several bands such as “The Awkward Stage” and “Deep Fried” (with Dave Yaden). Slim met the singer/songwriter Joe Firstman, who nicknamed him “Slim”, in Los Angeles while he was pursuing a graduate degree in history. Together, they would record the album “The War of Women”, released in 2001. It would also be in California that Slim would meet and play with Charles Kelley, who later, with Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott would form the trio known as Lady Antebellum. With Charles’ encouragement, Slim would later move to Nashville and played guitar on four full-length albums.
Slim, who defines country music as a “sincere” genre which “tells stories that people can relate to by addressing ordinary people’s expriences”, tours, writes, and records regularly with Los Angeles pop/rocker Curtis Peoples; he also co-wrote “Slow Down Sister”, “Wanted You More”, “All for Love”, and “Better Man” with Lady Antebellum, with whom he’s been recording consistently for the last six years. Slim sees similarities in the “ground level simplicity” and honesty found in country music to songs written by legends such as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, who also connect to their audience on a deeper level, for example Springsteen’s song about veterans coming back to the U.S. and not finding jobs like in “Born in the U.S.A.”. Slim states that these artists, through their art, speak to people directly and he fully understands their songs…
You’ve had a long career indeed. What is the one thing that still keeps you motivated?
Hmm, necessity? Ha ha. [It’s] hard to put my finger on it, really. Honestly, there’s just this rush when you write a song you’re excited about, or play for a really great crowd, record a great track. [The] anticipation of that feeling is what gets me out of bed in the morning. It doesn’t always happen, but you just power through those days and get to the next rush!
You revealed to me in an earlier conversation that most people nowadays don’t listen to just one genre of music anymore. Are you concerned about universal sounds when writing a new song?
Not at all. I usually just try to write a song that I dig myself, and hope someone out there shares my taste. As for universality, I think that generally happens accidentally. Songs like “Hey Ya” [Outkast] or “Crazy” [Gnarls Barkley] don’t come along that often. I’m guessing when they were written no one sat down and said “let’s write a song that everyone will love!!!” It just doesn’t work that way. Most writers kind of do their thing. That isn’t to say that some writers’ “thing” isn’t more universal than other writers’. I think Max Martin, Ryan Tedder, Hillary Lindsey, or Diane Warren, or any of a huge list of great writers, all those people write somewhat universal and certainly mainstream music, but what they all have in common is that it’s coming about honestly. There is a consistency to the sounds that these hugely successful writers make, but I don’t think it comes from fear of not sounding universal. They sound universal naturally.
Many people and some country artists feel like country pop is not real country music or that it’s a watered-down version of it. Any thoughts?
I think music has to evolve to maintain peoples’ interest. Audiences today grew up listening to a pretty broad spectrum of music. This is the generation that has spent equal amounts of time listening to not only Garth Brooks and Clint Black and Hank Williams Jr., but also Eminem, Outkast, Rage Against the Machine, and freaking Dido. I mean, people are all over the map, and they want to hear music that reflects that. Why in the world would someone want to ignore that fact just to maintain “tradition”? I don’t get that. I think there’s a reason country audiences are drawn to Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, and all that crossover stuff; it just makes more sense to today’s listeners.Click To See Full Article