MP3 J. Withrow - Never Done This Before
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13 MP3 Songs in this album (50:21) !
Related styles: SPIRITUAL: Christian Rock, ROCK: Hard Rock
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Hello my friend--J. Withrow here. My music is infused with the influence of gospel, rock, rap, pop, folk, and faith. Blend it together, and you get the album "Never Done This Before." That's a true statement, by the way. It's my first solo album and I've never made music even close to like this before. It has all the beat and groove that I've wanted to put into an album, and all the energy and electricity too.
It is my hope and prayer that these songs lift you up, and show you something about the God of this Universe--who He is, and what He thinks about us. It took me a year and three months from the time I wrote the first song, "Makin' It Plain" with friend SG (Spencer Gunnels), to finally holding the CD in shrink wrap in my hand. May the songs bless you.
So, here's my story and I'm stickin' to it....
I was born in downtown Dallas, TX. I grew up in Mesquite and Sunnyvaleâsuburbs of the Big D. Dallas is a great place for music really. Since Dallas is a part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, there is just millions of people all aroundâand so you end up meeting a lot of talented musicians, and they meet you.
So, at the end of my 7th grade year, I decide I want to take drum lessons because I loved making beats on wooden desks and tables with my hands and feet as Iâd sit patiently in my classes at Dallas Christian School. However, my Mom gets the notion that it would be better to learn guitar, because with guitar, as she said, I could âactually writeâ my own songs. And for some reason I thought that idea was a good one, and I signed up for guitar lessons with the blonde headed Nick Knirk at Brook Mays. Knick taught me well, and sometimes seemed high, but overall he was an excellent teacher.
In eighth grade at DCS I happened to be assigned a seat next to Paul Wilkes in our bible class. Paul turns out to be this interesting, creative, business minded entrepreneur, and has large dark bushy eyebrows that match his black hair and dark features. We got along great, and always found a reason to laugh. Once we started to get to know one another, we found out we both played guitar, and next thing you know Paul has handed me a tape with Litâs âMy Own Worst Enemy,â on it. He says to learn it and then come over to his house and weâll play it together. So I do that exactly and soon enough weâve started our first band.
We started writing songs on the weekend together as we each progressed in our guitar playing skills, and eventually made downright horrible recordings of them on Paulâs PC (but they were sincere recordings). Once we got a bass player and drummer and boosted our repertoire up to 4 or 5 songs, we decided that we should have a decent band name. We searched through the bible as our guide and decided that Devout Fear sounded cool enough, and would fit our need as a Rock band (many people thought the name sounded scary, which it did, we were somewhat scary middle school guys who liked hard rock, but...unfortunately it didnât fit our style as the years went on).
In 2002 (I believe) Devout Fear was asked to sign a record deal with Omni Records. Omni was a label that was owned by this mega rich dude who had a four story house with a turquoise front door, and 7 car garage filled with exotic expensive vehicles. The rich guy had a studio as his first floor (which was underground) and it was there that we made our first full-length album âRedwood Caravel.â The name has nothing to do with anything. It just sounded so beautiful. It turned out to be a sour deal, and we turned out to be extremely too young for any such stardom as you can imagine with us being in 10th grade at the time.
But life went on. The âRedwood Caravel,â sunk, and we continued to make new music. We got a new drummer, so it was me on Vox/Rhythm Guitar, Paul on Lead Guitar/BGV, the quite-yet-so-incredible Joe Knezek on Bass and mild mannered, curly haired Austin Chappell on drums. We actually had a decent sound by that point and were enjoying learning how to write good music and play good shows. Our style had shifted from one of dark, heavy, distorted guitar, to one of an artistic pop-acoustic feel, and what was needed at that point was a change of name. The band ended up sitting in a room with the intention of not leaving it until we had a band name, and out of the mix came the name âDressed for Autumn.â We thought it was artsy and clever and it fit what we were about at the time.âit matched our somewhat evolving urban personalities.
In the course of events, we eventually had enough material to make an album, and thusly, we pursued such a goal, and in 2004, released âAll is Dust Waiting to Fly.â It was a huge step for our little band. We were proud of it. We spent countless hours writing, recording, mixing, and the like, staying up late into the night many a time. We worked a lot with Desire Sneed, who was an incredible pianist and vocalist. She was actually apart of the band for a little while until moral differences made us to part ways, and it was very sad. But, her influence was powerful on me. She helped make the album come alive in a great many ways, not too mention, she introduced me to R&Bâthat kinda of soul we all love.
We worked hard, and played a lot of shows in and around Dallas and the surrounding towns and citiesâeven making it to Louisiana, Oklahoma, and South Texas. We learned a lot in those days, and we had a great timeâwe were absolutely carefree. People actually started liking our music, and would regularly attend concerts. We gathered somewhat of a following. But, as times changed, Austin left for college, and, DFA was left wondering what to do. Well, we werenât going to stop, so we were tipped off that a certain person named Aaron Hass was an amazing drummer and that we should get him to replace Austin. So we did. Aaron was this all-smiles, peppy, smooth, incredible musician/producer who blew us all away cause he new all this cool stuff about how to make recordings sound good, and about tight rhythm sections and whatnot. He still blows me away.
With Aaron now keeping our band together, we pressed on. Maroon 5 happened to be in my car stereo those days, and so I began to write songs with more groove, more beat, more rock. I wrote âTimes are Changing,â and that song is what I consider to be the Later DFAâs defining song. It was unashamedly rock/R&B.
We kept getting bigger and better shows, eventually winning second at The Buzz Oven battle of the bands, and opening for more popular acts. But, no matter, times kept changing, and Paul too decided to leave. He was getting more into graphic arts and photography (I remember him starting to find design and picture fascinating when he designed both the âRedwood Caravel,â and âAll Is Dust Waiting to Flyâ album artwork), and rock star was not where he saw himself going. So, graduation from DCS came in 2004 and we went our separate ways. I tried to keep the band together, but it just wasnât working for me. We hired a guitar player named Dave Smithâspectacular guitarist and manâbut it just wasnât the same. I finished my first semester of college at the Art Institute and then broke the band up. It was then I decided to leave Dallas and go to school in Arkansas.
Harding University was in a small town called Searcy. This, to say the least, was something Iâd never dealt withâpodunk small town, far away from anyone I know, Iâm not cool anymoreâall that jazz. It was great! I needed it, desperately. During this time, I didnât play music much. I studied graphic design, but found myself writing a few songs from time to time. I did spend a lot of time practicing singing though, and listening to different production techniques when I listened to music in the car.
After a year and a half of musical break, I decided Iâd had enough of graphic design, and wanted to be closer to music. So I up and left and transferred to Belmont Universityâsmack dab in the heart of music city, right on the end of music row, right beside hundreds of studios and thousands of song writers, engineers, and studio musicians. I ended up majoring in Audio and Video Production, and listening to a lot of music. Almost all my friends were musicians of some sort, or at least could play an instrument. During this time, I went on a Gospel binge. I listened to Kirk Franklinâs âHero,â for months on end, and practiced constantly singing to J. Mossâs âThe J. Moss Project.â I also listened to a lot of country since I was in Nashville, and was forced into listening to Jazz and Rap (both of which I now love), since I had friends and roommates who were music freaks. I got a love for music againâit got reborn in me. During the summer of 2007, I decided I wanted to produce a song, so I bought Reason and produced the song âStrange.â It was a solid groove rock song, but I need to practice producing more. The next summer I teamed up with Spencer Gunnels (SG), a good friend of mine and a swell rap artist. We did a song together called âComeback,â then proceeded to produce a scrappy music video for it. It was incredibly fun to make, and I found that I loved making music all over again. But now, I was feeling the rap/rock/gospel kind of style and in the winter of 2008, I started work on the album âNever Done This Before.â It would become my first solo album under the name J. Withrow, and this is where I find myself today. Man, and now weâll see what happens next, wonât we. Hehe.
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