If you are a singer-songwriter and getting serious about your craft, there are few places better to head for than Nashville. It’s THE place to go to expand the boundaries of an available palette as Justin told us when he dropped by our studios.
One of the dilemmas facing any musician is to define what genre of music they’re making. Sure, sometimes it is very clear-cut but often, it’s a work in progress and changing. Justin Klump came in to catch us up on how his creative work is evolving and expanding. PRP’s roving music and culture reporter Teri Briggs joined us as well on a fine Portland Morning. Read her commentary and listen to our conversation and a couple of unplugged songs, below.
Teri Briggs Writes:
Justin Klump came by the studios today while on a mini-Northwest tour from his relatively new hometown of Nashville. Justin comes from quite a musical family. His Grandfather was conductor of the Vancouver Symphony, his grandmother played lead viola, his mother the cello, and his father played the harmonica and guitar. Young Justin sang in choirs and played piano starting at the age of five. It was when he first heard Dave Matthews at fifteen that he became inspired to pick up a guitar and the rest is history. Matthews’ talents as a songwriter and guitarist led to Klump’s dedication to practice on a daily basis to hone his craft. He played two songs for us today, the hopeful, Sticks and Stones, from the 2012 album by the same name. ‘Life is sweet, but it’s been a bitter road. We’ve been bruised by sticks and stones. Let’s ride the highs, and fight the lows, we’re going to be alright, you take the sticks, and I’ll take the stones.’ He played this song with some complicated picking of his left hand. When asked how he could do that while singing, he replied that he can’t think about it, he has to let muscle memory take over. This single has received airplay throughout the U.S. & Canada and he first heard it on the radio upon his return to Nashville from having spent the holidays in Portland. Sirius XM features it on The Coffee House, and even invited him to perform it live at their studios in New York City.
The second song he played is the title off the new EP, The Night is Young, and is about holding on, having faith, that even stars are covered up sometimes, but the night is young and someday soon we’ll shine.
Justin and his wife left Portland and moved to Nashville in 2012 where he felt he’s been able to expand the boundaries of the palette of music he plays. Ever the student, he has gone to a lot of writer’s nights to glean all he can from others. What I admire in Justin, is that he continues to push himself, striving to make music that might inspire others, or cause them to pause and think about life in a different way, realizing that when he resists writing every day, that’s when he needs to do it the most. The new EP will debut June 2 where he will play to a sold out show at the Alberta Street Pub, Wednesday in Eugene, Thursday in Seattle, and a few days in Central Oregon before heading back to Nashville. We may have lost him to Tennessee but with family and friends in the Northwest, he’ll continue to return and play a few shows when he does.