I walked into Rockhurst’s Rock Room (a room specifically designated for rock!) at 9:00 sharp, happy that I wouldn’t miss any of Jason’s songs. Gave him a hug and said hello, and the third thing out of his mouth was “Do you want to open up?”

Why not? Unpracticed, unprepared, with new equipment and a room full of new faces… it was a grand idea. I introduced myself and whipped through “I Don’t Even Know How Right This Sounds” and “J. Cougar Mellensong” from Be A Ska Rat (out next month!), then “Open Columns” and “America Votes 2032” from nickel. It was a bit rough, but the kids were nice about it. Counting two events at WCC last year and the MFR BL/R-OCK party, it was the fourth and largest echoes show ever. I mentioned the website and ended my gig as Jason’s “opening guy.”

After song and a half, Katy, Tim, and Jill arrived, and we listened and joked through Jason’s whole set from the front row. I have some short thoughts about it, but no narrative; I was pretty lost in the moment, which was intentional. With some music, if you simply open up to an experience, it will suck you in with its own strength. Pete Townshend calls it “getting out of your head.”

New and old songs sat well together side-by-side. Cuts from Driver is the DJ mixed with several requests from a friendly audience: “Big Sky,” “Captain,” the cowboy-fiddler drinking song whose title I can’t remember, “Those Were The Times.” Jason’s shows have great stage banter, delivered with a sheepish grin. He knows how to dance the edge between poignancy and comedy, and steps in a way that enhances both. Snatches of cover songs made their way into his originals: we heard pieces of Paula Abdul, OutKast, and Britney.

Many [blog] readers already know Jason, but next time he’s in your town, you might take some friends to the show.

And if your town is close to KC, I might see you there. Come early for a little echoes. -h