What would you get if you blended the economy of The Edge with the blowtorch blues of Jack White, added to the direct, narrative songwriting of Tom Petty and the dramatic flair of The Killers? Probably something like Jay Van Raalte. The Charleston native’s musical endeavors have ranged from old school blues to folk/country, from musical theater to modern rock, but three things remain constant: thoughtful guitar playing, perceptive songwriting, and a strict attention to detail and arrangement. All of this is on display in Linearity, the Reverend Guitars featured artist’s debut release. The self-produced EP features Van Raalte on nearly every instrument, but bringing the songs to life onstage requires a team: Derk Van Raalte (bass) and Bradley Palles (drums) make up the rest of live band Jay Van Raalte and The Spectrum, providing a rock-solid foundation for Jay’s fiery guitar playing.
Upcoming release Something More and Kind Of Less, Jay’s first full-length album, has been a long time coming. The album is diverse, ranging from the screaming, chaotic guitar solos of Cautionary Tale to the folk textures of Passing Through, the Smashing Pumpkins-inspired Piece by Piece to the hypnotic drum loop of Achtung. That’s not a conscious effort so much as the natural expression of Van Raalte’s curiosity coupled with a sincere desire to let every song be exactly what it wants to be. Co-producers Matt Megrue and Derk Van Raalte encouraged this spirit, resulting in a body of work that’s both playful and stubborn, vulnerable and ambitious.