JLT Records


Jael - Artist BiographyJael began playing music of his own in 1971 in Canada at the ripe old age of 14. He got some serious attention playing live on a Texas gospel radio show in 1976 and went on to play over 200 concerts a year for the next 5 years. In 1978 he released his first LP with the band Preflyte on an indie label with sales in 8 countries. His next Preflyte project was ill fated and wound up unfinished as the band dissolved. The next album was more acoustic and while a critical success in underground reviews around the country, it was a commercial failure. Undaunted, he reformed Preflyte for a rough heavy sounding studio reunion concert and released it simultaneously with a single from a new studio solo project called Filling the Void. "Preflyte Raw" broke even financially and Old Gypsy Moon, the song from Filling the Void, climbed the Canadian RPM AOR charts in Nov of 81 to # 29, breaking in to the top 10 Canadian releases at the time. The bouncy pleasant tune borrowed from the dixieland jazz tradition and was not really representative of the album. A second single called Eden was released from the record in 82 and climbed to #25 and stayed a while. It also got some regional US airplay.

Filling the Void was meant to be a trilogy of Albums and in 83, Jael started work on the second and third volumes of the concept album simultaneously. They are entitled "It's Only Art," and "Dog Barking 11:59. Near the end of these projects, he went to London to help out former band mate turned producer Jamie Proulx and recorded a 3 song EP known simply as the London Sessions, releasing the song Observations as a single. This recording also features life-long friend and collaborator Brian Danter on bass.

After the London sessions, he began to produce and work with other artists. Legion and Tanzen, Canadian bands with minor hit records, both came under his touch for a while. Jael and Brian took a new album to Aquarius Records, but due to differences between Brian and his old label, it did not get picked up. Brian led the band Teaze through their years with Aquarius. Brian later released some music on a live album with Wind-Soar that came from this collaboration. Jael just kept working on a variety of other projects, recording CCM artist Robert Johnson, working on a songwriting contest, and beginning a fortuitous relationship with musician turned sound and video studio owner, Walter Riggi.

From here he recorded one of his favorite projects. Musically it has been described as a cross between Cockburn and Mellancamp and is entitled "Songs for Lovers and Other Minorities." He had done so much experimenting with sound that a grass roots alternative music scene was right where he wanted to be at that point. He also went for a number of niche markets as far as content goes. You cannot peg him easily. Jael created a folk-punk album simply titled Jerry and the Jerks, with five fictitious characters as the line-up. He did most of the writing and playing, sharing writing credits on only one song, and playing credentials with Walter. In the middle of this, Desert Storm erupted and a song called "The Thorn" was readied as a single in direct response. Unfortunately funding delayed the release until the company felt it no longer urgent to get it out and though it appeared on the album, it was not released as a single.

Shortly thereafter he turned his hand to an LP of motivational songs, ("In The Rough" & "Road Warrior"), wrote a country LP that the publishers in Nashville claimed was too lyrically sophisticated, and wrote a praise and worship collection for his Church. He also recorded an allegorical demo with Brian of a double length album called "Five Minutes to Showtime."

Jael then released a live show with his kids. Dynamite the Dinosaur was born and toured festivals across the US and Canada. A recording, and a kid's book followed and then an invitation to play in Singapore. The family never made it. A new arrival was expected to add to the family size right when they were to travel.

The California period came next. New musicians, new influences and the internet began to change the game. The first internet only release came out in 1996, from Jason Ames' living room computer in California. It was called Acoustic One Shot and had similar ideology to Johnny Cash's later acoustic only release. Since both people on the internet that year seemed to have missed it, JLT Records re-released it in 2004 with an additional track. Jason was a drummer who later played a couple of live recorded performances as well, one released as "Live in Littlerock."

Jael had been contemplating forming a new label called "Old Farts with Cool Tunes" since he had been excited about a number of collaborative projects with the fallen stars of rock and roll with whom he was working. Brian from Canada of course was to be included, Phil Bryant of 707 and Jim Veritch from Alice Cooper. Jim started selling guitars over the internet, walked away from recording so the timing wasn't right for him and the California connection became strained as Jay began to commute back to the Michigan area. Both Phil and Brian went on to work with Jay but released the projects on the JLT Records label. Phil worked on the "911" album and the "Poets and Sages" project by Lamenting Vinyl, which Jael mostly wrote and produced. Brian worked on "Preflyte Raw" (his first commercial recording playing lead instead of bass), "The London Sessions," "Five Minutes to Showtime," and "Political by Necessity" for Jael, a single called "Thank a Vet" for Lorne James (Jael's country alter ego) and collaborated with Jay for eight new albums for himself. The first release from this almost 3 decade writing project is called Traitors' Gate. Watch for lots more soon.

Jael was called about putting together a double album entitled, "For the Record", which will cover his last 30 years in the business and it looks like he will be able to acquire all rights to the recordings needed so it is a project that will go forward, but first, JLT is making some of the back catalog available for the first time in years. There had been a flood in the basement vaults where all the master tapes and multi-track tapes had been archived when some pipes broke. Lots of tape was destroyed and a lot of remaining vinyl ruined as well. To do the compilation, stuff is actually being re-recorded and as they wade through the available material and digitize it, stuff long buried is again coming to light. That's great news for the true fan and collector.

Jael is a truly international artist, born with both US and Canadian citizenships and living and working in several other countries as well. He has spent time in Mexico, Colombia SA, and working with a number of Latin artists from Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Argentina.

There is a lot I've left out, partners and players of significance, tours he mounted, thousands of songs written, projects he played on or produced, even records he wrote and demo'd of which there is no trace left, but if you have missed him, you need to find out what you're missing. Fortunately, there is a fairly comprehensive Jael discography available at www.JLTRecords.com.