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By Alicia Nemiccolo MacLeay '97
When Jason Spooner '95 was growing up his dad had two record collections. One stack was the pop music left out for anyone to play. "He didn't care if the kids were listening to the Bee Gees records," Spooner said. "Because then they could get scratched and destroyed." Then there was the music Spooner's dad cared about and protected--early Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. It was that second stack of songwriter-based records that influenced Spooner's musical style. Once his father saw how Spooner connected with that music, Jason was allowed to spin those albums on the family stereo. No more Bee Gees for him.
Spooner has been writing and performing his own music in coffee houses and clubs since shortly after picking up an acoustic guitar as a high school freshman. In November the singer-songwriter released his debut record, Lost Houses. The "self-produced, self-funded, self-everything project" includes 11 tracks of folk, soul and blues-influenced tunes.
Spooner's songs range from the wistful "Morning" ("Maybe she ain't no Juliet but in this life you gotta take what you get/And I can sleep well in her arms until the morning") to the fun, campy country tune "Pickup Truck" ("She got more features than a Winnebago/She's had more rednecks than Lake Sebago"). In addition to vocals and acoustic guitar Spooner also plays a mean harmonica.
Until about 18 months ago Spooner was a solo act, based in Portland, Maine. "I hadn't been seeking a band," he said. A chance meeting with a drummer wanting to buy Spooner's speakers changed that. The duo added a bassist a short time later, and all appear on Lost Houses.
"I didn't want to sound like a big loud band," Spooner said. "I think the fact that it's organically gone from solo songwriter, throw in a little drum and throw in the bass in sort of a layered way, has enabled the songs and the songwriter vibe to really be the focal point."
Spooner started recording his first demo as a Colby senior and finished it soon after. The demo even earned him his first job at an independent blues record label. As for the long wait for his debut, "I really wanted to wait until everything had matured," he said. "To do something polished."
It's worth the wait. For a preview, check out the music clips and concert schedule on Spooner's Web site at www.jasonspooner.com.
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