new recording artist, going under the name Jai, keyboardist
/ guitarist Joe Wilbur is off to a great start with his full
length debut CD Instrumental Storyteller Vol. 1:
Discovering The Peace. In keeping with the concept of his
latest creation, Jai has crafted a whole story line about the
album, whichbriefly described on the CD packaging and getting
even more in depth on his web siteis told here without words
through the art of progressive, instrumental music. Not only does
Jai play everything on the albumincluding bass, keys, electronics
and guitarsbut hes also produced, engineered, edited,
mixed and mastered the entire CD. Combining New Age sonorities with
a cross-section of meditative, instrumental rock-based styles of musicreviving
a Paul Speer meets Pink Floyd type of groovethe Instrumental
Storyteller CD is a finely honed D.I.Y. type of album that will
have across the board appeal among listeners and musicians alike.
For rock fans who enjoy Pink Floyds deeply contemplative soundscapes
and New Age fans who sometimes like their sound a little on the edgy
side, Instrumental Storyteller is a valuable listening experience.
For his self-produced CD, Wilbur makes the most out of the wide range
of home / mobile studio recording gear currently available these days
andin keeping with the 21st century recording approach of many
aspiring artistsoverall, the project yields some pretty amazing
and occasionally startling audio results. The tracks with percussion
on itthe ones that really help Jai stand out from the packseem
to be the more upbeat tracks, and adding in the percussion and drums
here is Blair Shotts. Also appearing with some atmospheric
background vocals on a track here is a talented young woman named
Myoa. Overall, Instrumental Storyteller is a fine debut
and introduction to Jais uniquely appealing type of music. Lets
hope Jai gets to do this again with even more exceptional results.
MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents JAI
Guitars Center Stage
boy...well I'm still amazed I'm even able to play music actually.
I never thought anything would happen with my little guitar hobby
because I was such a late starter, didn't pick up a guitar until just
before I turned 20. I just turned 30. Being self-taught, I spent the
first year just trying to figure the thing out, but quickly started
to learn more by trying to play music I was "hearing" in
my head. The original music came quickly, probably about 3-4 months
into it, in small doses at first of course but eventually evolving
into longer pieces, finally into something I could legitimately call
a song after about 3 years. I had a little EP I gave out to friends
4 years into playing. (Which you can download for free at jaiaudio.com
in the "Media" section.) Then from '04 to '09 the songs
that would become this album came to me. Started playing bass and
adding that element to my demos around 2005. '08 to 2010 was spent
recording and finalizing the record. I spent about 7 months down in
Los Angeles to attend the Musicians Institute graduating from the
Recording Artist Program in March of '09. That was an incredibly helpful
experience. This was also the time I started playing around with keyboards.
So I haven't been playing very long, but was able to find my way enough
to introduce new dimension to my music and really give it life. The
day after my 30th birthday I held the record in my hand. So it took
me almost exactly 10 years to go from absolute nothing to releasing
my first full length album of original music.
My album is called Instrumental Storyteller Vol. 1: Discovering
The Peace." It was recorded in various places at various
times. The real recording process began at MI, where I had a mobile
recording studio, so a lot of the tracks were
recorded in Hollywood in MI's studios and West L.A where I was living
during that time. When I finished school I moved back home to northwest
Washington state, and recorded wherever I was staying at the time
to finish the rest of the tracks. On a few occasions though I was
able to use individual tracks from my demos of some of the songs.
For example, the lead guitar on "Love Story", is the original
take I did sometime back in '07 on some inspired night when I was
just hitting record and jamming over it. So it's all one live take.
When I revisited this demo to re-record it for the album, I realized
I wasn't going to do any better to capture the feeling of the song,
so I kept it, and just added some keyboard arrangements underneath
the guitar to fill the track out. All of the drum tracks were recorded
live in MI's studios by our program's session drummer Blair Shotts.
He was incredible and could come up with something on the spot to
any song you happened to bring in that day. Peter Avveduti was the
engineer for those drum sessions, I acted as producer during those
times. "Stormcloud, Bring Rainbows" features guest vocalist
Myoa, who is exceptionally talented. Her vocal track was recorded
at MI's studios, at the time I only had a rough keyboard rhythm track
that was just looped for several minutes. I told her to just wail,
sing whatever comes to you, and in one take she came up with what
you hear in the record, just amazing. I was blown away, being in that
room at that time gave me chills, her gorgeous voice really made that
song. Other than those few people, I handled every other aspect of
the entire record myself, playing all the instruments, being my own
engineer, mixing, mastering, and all the rest. That being the case,
I have developed a style of writing and recording where it's all sort
of done at once. When I come up with something I like I record it,
then I'll have to arrange a rough rhythm track so I can play lead
guitar over it. Then I'll fine tune it by adding bass, and then keyboards
to fill it out, depending on the song. So it's a constant process
of recording, mixing, tweaking, overdubbing, tweaking some more, etc,
until I feel I have matched as closely as I can the sounds coming
from the monitors to the sounds in my heart and head.
right a gear question! I have to start by saying I play left-handed,
so finding proper guitars has been an ongoing search, but I finally
feel that in the last couple years I have settled happily into a few
favorites that I can make music with for years to come. I went through
a handful of different guitars, electric and acoustic, until I happened
upon an obscure guitar company called Raven (now RavenWest Guitars),
about 6 years ago. They make a lot of incredible left handed instruments.
I have a bass from them as well. So that one white Raven superstrat-style
with a vine inlay on the neck has been my baby since I got it. That's
the one with the mojo, guitar players will understand this. All the
leads were played on that guitar, and most of the rhythm tracks as
well. I supplemented my rhythm tracks with a Gibson Les Paul Studio,
that I quickly tore apart and refinished with a "Geisha"
print finish - I refinish guitars on the side, www.jaiguitars.com
- and replaced the bridge with an LR Baggs Piezo unit, so it has 2
outputs. One for the electric humbuckers, and one for the piezo signal.
It's set up to hear them separately, or I can blend them together
as well, makes for some really cool sounds and makes it possible to
play live, since I play both acoustic and electric on my record. So
I've been playing this guitar more lately, as I've started to play
live. I customized it to be my dream guitar, and it has been great
to me. It has that pure, warm, Gibson tone that just always sounds
good. Though one day I don't think I'd mind having a left-handed JEM.
After going through several acoustic guitars as well, I finally settled
on a new Ibanez model (EW20L) that came out a couple years ago. It
has the look, feel, and sound that works best for me and my style
of playing. The keyboard I use is an M-Audio 61 Keystation. It's a
midi controller, and I use Omnisphere and the Logic sound library
for the cello, strings, piano, and other sounds you hear on the record.
modern day DIY musician, recording everything direct on my MacBook
Pro. Software for my keyboard sounds, and software for my guitar tones.
I use Native Instruments Guitar Rig for all my guitar tones. I've
created a set of rhythm and lead patches that work for me, they've
become my "sound", so I use those exclusively. I also record
my acoustic direct, which is a big no-no in the guitar and recording
world. I happen to like the sound of the acoustic direct, and I use
various plug-ins, EQ, and compression to warm it up and make it fit
in the mix. When I first started to mess around with recording myself,
there was all this new technology coming out all the time for home
musicians, it was already becoming a DIY world for new musicians,
so I wanted to embrace that. It was then, in those early days, that
I declared to myself that I wanted to prove it was possible to actually
make a good sounding record using this new gear that regular people
could afford to get, without relying on pro studios or expensive amps
and analog gear and microphones. Everything was moving towards digital,
I was new to this whole world, so I was going to do it this new way,
I was just going to learn how to use this new technology properly
to make it sound as good as I possibly can. That decision has really
shaped my sound a lot I think, as well as how I go about writing and
Without a doubt numero uno is Steve Vai. It's not just his
playing and music he makes, which is incredibly gorgeous, it's his
whole being that I find inspiring and insightful. It's the words of
wisdom that I've absorbed over the
years of being a fan, it's the experiences I've had meeting him and
seeing him play live. The guy's soul is just overflowing with the
spirit of music, that is what I take from him the most, I want to
be true to myself as he has been, by making the music that comes through
my spirit. Other favorite guitarists are David Gilmour,
John Petrucci, Mark Knopfler and Joe Satriani. The album that really
moved me enough to shift and enrich my musical tastes was Dream Theater's
Images and Words. That blew me away, that a group of guys could
be that good together and write really incredible sounding music as
well as play a million notes an album. That lead me towards having
more depth in my musical tastes, where I began searching out more
progressive and soundtrack type music. Pink Floyd is a favorite of
mine, and was very influential, and still is for me. I can see some
of my style in the music they've created, and how they make complete
albums, that are meant to be listened to as a whole, I love that.
Nowadays, anything by the band Gazpacho (a Norwegian band) I consider
to be the most perfect music in the world. They crank out albums of
the most beautiful music, the perfect mix of heavy and soft, with
the most gorgeous melodies, and emotion spilling out over the sides.
currently rehearsing and relearning my songs so I can play them live.
It's funny, having to relearn your own songs. Since my process is
to write and record together, often times I only learn parts of my
composed solo at a time and record them, to get things done in a timely
manner. Then a lot of time went by when I was in the mixing and mastering
stages, and didn't play much, so I forgot how I played everything.
Just the way it goes when you do it all yourself, you get pulled in
so many directions! I'm always recording ideas and new things, lately
it's been pieces for weddings. I wrote a piece I call the "Wedding
Song" about 4 years ago which I've been playing for people's
weddings lately, which is a version of "Pachelbel's Canon"
that I rearranged and composed an acoustic lead guitar part to play
over it. It's becoming quite popular so I get requests to play that
at wedding ceremonies. So I just finished re-recording my guitar part
and some of the arrangement to bring the recording up to date.
is my site. That's the best place to go for information. Or you can
find me on Facebook at facebook.com/jaiaudio. I always like hearing
people's thoughts on the record so email me at email@example.com.
Thanks also to Suzanne Fogarty for her photographs of