Jason Boots & Friends, Zubia Brothers

Jason Boots

Whoever said that gone are the days of the free spirited, spontaneous, criss-crossing America on a moment's notice in search of adventure to feed the soul moments, have not met Jason Boots. With a packed bag and guitar by his side, he is always on call, but characterizing him as a drifter would be unfair, as he is never moving without purpose. On the contrary, he is as dedicated to his craft as he is loyal to helping others in advancing their own art. Jason may not not have directly chosen his path - but rather the path chose him - and he hit that path in stride...some boots are made for walking, but this Boots was made for running.

His journey began in Hastings Minnesota, a small twin cities suburb nestled on the mississippi river, in the state of 10,000 lakes. While he claims to have always had an artistic vision, his early years were consumed by athletics, as he exceled in basketball, track and cross-country, being selected All-State in each multiple times throughout his high school career. He went to college for a year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on a track scholarship, but midway through his first year, Boots began to chase another career - acting. He soon left badger country and set his sights on the beaches of Los Angeles. He signed with a talent agency in the late 90's and found himself in the thick of young hollywood, landing a few small film and television roles. His roommate at the time was another aspiring actor and fellow Minnesota native, Seann William Scott, who would gain fame as 'Stifler' in the American Pie movies. During their few years living together, it was actually Scott who inspired Boots to start playing guitar when the two went on a backpacking expedition through Austrailia in 2000. It wasn't until a few years later in 2004 that he would start learning how to play.

Since that time, Boots has entertained crowds all across the U.S. and a half-dozen other countries as a headliner, opener, background instrumentalist/vocalist, songwriter, and actor. He has written and performed songs for motion pictures, NASCAR, and even wrote a theme song for the world's most downloaded podcast, the 'Adam Carolla Show'. Though his music has yet to find mainstream radio, it did find its way to the tonight show band, which played the podcast jingle during Adam Carolla's last apperance.

A self admitted pop culture connoisseur, Boots' admits his musical 'style' was molded not by a specific band or sound, but mainly by several songs over many contrasting genre's. Some of his favorite songwriting influences include John Cougar Mellencamp, Tom Petty, Steve Earle, Jimmy Buffett, Martin Zellar, Todd Snider, The Bodeans, The Eagles, Counting Crows and Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers to name a few. It was the latter (Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers), that really made an impression, and also gave him a newfound 'home' on the road. "I had started a production company, and after a couple short films, I was looking for content...specifically music. Something that spoke to me and that I wanted to learn more about. I was just a creative person, but I didn't really know what I was doing, and just sort of learned on the fly." Soon Boots found himself on the road with the Peacemakers, which eventually blossomed into a partnership, as Boots filmed and produced 3 DVD's that accompanied the releases of RCPM's albums "¡Americano!", "No More Beautiful World", and "Turbo Ocho". "Americano" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Internet sales chart, while ''No More Beautiful World" debuted in the top 10. Eventually Boots' bond grew with the Peacemakers, and for the past several years he has added trumpet playing to his repitoire, joining the band for a few songs nightly, while also tour managing and opening shows with an acoustic set. "It was like going to rock-n-roll school. I was getting a degree in touring, writing, and performing. I just absorbed it all," he said.

When it comes to his songs, Boots has stacks of notebooks with songs that he admits will never see the light of day. "Songs are really an incredible gift. In listening, they can be an everlasting memory of reflection, joy, laughter, sadness, escape...there is a soundtrack to any emotion available. In creating a song, its much of the same. I try to be optimistic. There are a lot of serious things out there and music is a great distraction. That's what I try to do...what all those songs did for me, put me somewhere else for a few minutes." His songs certainly aren't lacking subject matter, whether it's about hanging down by the riverside, waxing nostalgic, hanging with strippers, toasting spirits, stretching, running, rapping, or being a fireman, he's got a wide variety of songwriting material at his disposal, mixed in with a few broken hearted numbers along the way. In 2008, Jason released his debut album, 'From the Edge of Dreamtown', a very raw recording of some of his earliest work. He followed that up with 'Holding on to an Evening Gone' in 2010, and in 2012 he released the EP 'Looking Back Ahead', a collection of a few new and old songs pieced together here and there. His next album 'A Little Bit of Something is Better Than Nothing' is due to be released early this summer, which I'm sure will include a whole bunch of new tour dates all across the map. As long as he has a notebook in front of him, he will never stop creating, and as long as there is a road to travel, he will have his suitcase packed and ready to go. Try to catch him out there, and see if you can keep up.

"A little bit of something is better than nothing"

Zubia Brothers

Although ostensibly a "new" project, making music has been a more like a lifelong passion for brothers Lawrence and Mark Zubia.

Born and raised in the overheated environs of Phoenix, Arizona, the gifted singer-songwriter tandem has become a veritable institution in the state, with a series of popular and successful combos. Notable among these groups were the Chimeras, a roots-rock powerhouse founded with longtime friend Doug Hopkins. Sadly, the late guitarist, who founded and led the Gin Blossoms to multi-platinum success, committed suicide. After Hopkins' passing the Chimeras regrouped, eventually morphing into the Pistoleros. With the name change also came a major label recording contract. The group's Hollywood Records debut Hang On To Nothing found the Zubias collaborating with a number of notable colleagues, including members of the Jayhawks and Smithereens. While the Pistoleros furthered their recorded legacy with a self-titled effort and the concert collection, Bars and Guitars, the Zubia brothers’ project, Voices on the Street, marks the first time the pair has recorded under the family name.

Utilizing some 30 years of music making experience and savvy - the Zubias began their careers as toddlers backing their father, a professional mariachi - the brothers’ new sound includes a heady mix of roots, country, mariachi and classic pop traditions. Their debut, produced by Jesse Valenzuela (Gin Blossoms, Stevie Nicks) and Michael Blum (Madonna, Suicidal Tendencies, New Radicals), reshapes the brothers’ well-defined sound, adding a post-modern edge without sacrificing any of their roughhewn charm and rock 'n' roll spirit. Also helping bring the Zubia's songs to life are a talented cast of collaborators including songwriter Gary Louris (Jayhawks, Golden Smog) drummer Gary Mallaber (Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Steve Miller) keyboardist Herman Jackson (Stevie Wonder, Tone Loc), and many others.

Although their tales of love and loss often involve emotional chaos, it's a turmoil offset by some of the most beautiful genetic harmonies and inviting melodies imaginable.

Mark and Lawrence are currently working on a second recording under the Zubia Brothers name. While they occasionally play with The Pistoleros, LZ also fronts The Persuaders and plays in an acoustic duo, and MZ sings and plays guitar in his band Los Guys and acoustic duo Los Thieves.


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