The three-piece never tires of the road and its adventures.
Between Nashville and New Orleans, there’s a stretch of road that’s all too familiar to Nashville-based gritty Southern rock band The JAG. It’s so familiar that they named their 2012 EP, Mississippi Acid Pine Highway Tour, for it. “We used to take acid on the way home to Nashville after family visits in Jackson or shows in New Orleans,” says vocalist and guitarist Aaron Tyler King. “We’ve encountered that stretch of road millions of times. I just remember how everything felt and looked– the highways, how desolate they were, and all of the pine trees hanging over into the road practically. It’s very beautiful, and when you’re tripping, it’s really cool.” The JAG plays Circle Bar on Sunday night.
Mississippi Acid Pine Highway Tour is a dirty, rumbling, blues-inspired testament to Southern rock ‘n’ roll. It's the first “legit recordings” of the band, King says. And just last month, The JAG released a 7” that features two singles from the EP. “I think you really appreciate the music on a deeper scale with vinyl,” King says. “All of my CDs are fucked up. I haven’t bought a CD in a long time, and none of them work.” Nashville is all about vinyl right now, King says. He recently purchased a new record player and has no complaints about the LP comeback. “It’s an investment of care,” he says. “I can guarantee that my vinyls will work years from now. They’re getting a lot better treatment.”
Nashville might be known as the country music capital to most, but King says the reason why he and his two bandmates left their hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, was for its underground rock ‘n’ roll scene. “The country music scene and the songwriter scene are definitely predominant in Nashville,” King says. “But behind all of that, and above it and beyond it, is rock ‘n’ roll. It’s recognized worldwide now that some of the best rock ‘n’ roll comes out of Nashville, and bands like Kings of Leon and Jack White have attached their name to the city. Nothing was really happening in Jackson as far as the music business was concerned, and we wanted to become a part of a community of rock ‘n’ roll.”
King, guitarist Joe Regan, and bassist Gant O’Brien have played in various bands together since 2002, through their high school and college years. But now that they call Nashville home base, they have more freedom to tour the Northeast than before. Only a few weeks ago, The JAG joined Grace Potter and the Nocturals for their Pennysylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio tour dates. It was pure coincidence that Grace Potter and her band stumbled upon The JAG in the first place, King says. “Grace Potter and the Nocturnals were at the Howlin’ Wolf Den watching their bass player play with his side project, Ice Cream,” he says. “After they were done, we took the stage and they happened to stick around see us. A few months later we got an email, and we were able to play a show with them.” It proves that you just never know who you’re playing to. “We get pretty stoked about every chance we get to play with them now,” King says. "We had no idea they were in the audience."
My Spilt Milk and Simple Play present The JAG at The Circle Bar Sunday with Coyotes and Babes. To win a pair of tickets to the show, register here.