☾ JAYE BARTELL
Born in Massachusetts, Jaye Bartell moved to Asheville, NC, in the early 2000s where he began playing music among friends as a parallel activity to his work with poetry and other writing. Writing was his main focus for most of a decade—a time that involved constant traveling and moving around the U.S., mostly between North Carolina and the Pacific Northwest, where he lived on a small island in northern Washington.
After moving to Buffalo, NY, in 2006, he found the company of the writers and musicians of House Press, a publishing collective made up of friends from Buffalo and Chicago that produced small-edition handmade books and home-recorded albums. He released his first album, Feeling Better, Pilgrim, in 2008, after musician/writer Damian Weber taught him how to record. The album incorporated live incidental sounds (wind, chimes, traffic, birds), some of which were manipulated and processed as loops, but emphasized vocal melody and lyrics above all. A typical performance from this time included guitar and voice accompanied by a portable turntable that played field recordings of bird song, ocean waves, wind and other incidental sounds.
He moved back to Asheville in 2009 and recorded The Dog’s Dinner, which departed from the solo, self-production of his earlier work, and initiated the collaboration among Bartell and other area musicians, especially guitarist and composer Shane Parish of Ahleuchatistas. He collaborated with a number of visual artists in Asheville as well, including Ursula Gullow and Nathanael Roney, who have illustrated a number of Bartell’s albums and continue to influence his songwriting. Bartell continued to write, record, and perform intensively in Asheville for the next few years with Parish and other musician, although most of the recorded output came from live performances.
He recorded the EP Elation with Asheville musician J Seger in 2012, as well as the full-length, full-band album Loyalty in 2013 with Parish, Seger, and Emily Easterly. These two recordings display a more settled, resolved vocal delivery.
Bartell moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn in the fall of 2013, where he began working on the new set of material that will furnish his next release — a set of songs that examine and resist transcendence, dissociation, and departure to “find a home on earth” as Robert Creeley wrote, and take images and inspiration from hot air balloons, Spalding Gray, and the neighborhood around McGolrick Park.
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