Kerowax is the debut album by The Jack Kerowax, a pop-influenced Americana band fronted by singer/songwriter Johnny Beauford and composed of musicians from several Dallas-Fort Worth bands. The 10-track album was recorded, mixed, and mastered solely on analog equipment at Ferralog Studios in Dallas. It’s set to be released November 25th on St. Cait Records.
The Jack Kerowax arose out of friendships, collaborations and rehearsals in northeastern Texas. Looking for sidemen to perform on what he intended to be a full-length solo record, Johnny Beauford began playing with local musicians Garrett Padgett (Deadmoon Choir), Nathan Adamson (the Hazardous Dukes) and Nash Griggs. A weekly residency at a Dallas-area cafe gave the guys time to develop a warm, fuzzed-out blend of Americana arrangements built around pop hooks. Before long, the solo project turned into a full-fledged band. The Jack Kerowax were born.
“Our influences range from classic country to Lou Reed,” says Beauford, a prolific songwriter and occasional solo artist who also fronts the rock group Bravo, Max! “Lyrically, this record is full of super condensed stories. Most of the stuff I write has some pretty dark undertones, and the music is meant to, in response, have some equally dark overtones. However, there are good times — and despite popular opinion, it is possible to be inspired by joy as easily as depression or anger.”
The album’s lead single, “Ten Year War,” mixes thick harmonies, guitar arpeggios and gauzy keyboards into a cautionary love song. “It touches on falling in love with a country or religion or person or obsession that may very well turn its back on you,” says Beauford, who sings the tune in a warm, wounded baritone. Meanwhile, songs like “Huck Finn’s Hideout” and ‘”Fever” crank up the tempo as well as the guitar amps, resulting in a sound that mixes the swagger of blues with the boozy spirit of rock & roll. “Moonshine Barber” even finds enough room for harmonica and saloon-style piano, too, drawing a connection between the Dallas music scene of today and the more western-leaning sounds of the previous century.
Kerowax may be the sound of a band discovering its rootsy, raucous identity, but it’s also a tribute to the band’s hometown. Quite simply, these songs sound like Texas.
“The Dallas-Fort Worth area is where I was born and raised, and I chose early on to plant roots here as an adult,” Beauford says. “It is what I know. It shapes my perspective, and by default, it shapes any art I am involved with.”
The record release concert for Kerowax is November 22nd at The Twilite Lounge in Dallas.
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