JR WOLF music is designed to be straight-forward, honest and simple, yet there is something enticingly complex about this debut effort when viewed from a wholistic level. The album’s tracks guide you through an intricately designed journey as notions of genre blur into the periphery.
The group starts out sounding like a rowdy electric American blues rock band and by the fourth song, cellos are the focal point. Later, there is a powerful and eerie instrumental waltz which showcases a scorching finger tapping metal style guitar performance. The song starts with a slow crescendo of squealing feedback layered over bagpipes and builds to a flurried attack of notes. Just at its most intense point, the sound drops out. Thunder claps and the album rolls into the next track, a heartbreaking ballad which highlights a soft gospel organ paired with an emotionally charged pedal steel guitar.
Jason Wolfe, JR WOLF’s songwriter and front man, plays seven different instruments for the last song on the album. “This one always wanted a rootsy, organic kind of feel. Light and happy and like it could happen naturally; a bunch of friends gathered in a circle playing music…that’s the feel of the whole album, really. It’s all songs that we can actually perform at a live show, not an overproduced studio effort”, he says.
Martin Chaudhry, the group’s virtuoso guitarist, was introduced by Jason’s cousin when Wolfe was looking for a bassist in the fall of 2008. Chaudhry did not have any experience with the instrument, but picked it up in his enthusiasm to join the band. His talent on lead guitar, however, forced a strong reconsideration of any other role. It was not too long before Chaudhry assumed his current position. For a while they played mostly for fun, developing Martin’s parts for songs in Wolfe’s personal catalog. In the summer months of 2010 the pair began to perform publicly as JR WOLF , recruiting friends for help performing full shows.