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Premiere: The Contenders

From their CD Laughing with the Reckless, a thoughtful song of caring

Photos: Stacie Huckeba

Singer/songwriter Jay Nash and singer and drummer Josh Day bonded in Los Angeles over a decade ago, sharing a love of The Band, roots music, and a sacred admiration for the great American songbook. Their paths crossed over the years, until collaboration became inevitable.

Jay Nash honed his music in loud bars along the St. Lawrence River, Upstate New York near the Canadian border. Josh Day, hailing from the sweet, sticky hill country of North Carolina, provides percussive virtuosity which resonates with audiences and always feels a bit like a party. Together as the Contenders, the duo make real Americana music—full of grit, a steady heartbeat, a hint of honky-tonk and a ferocity born of hard work and honed skill.

“Save a Place At The Table” shows what these guys can do, and they gave Elmore a bit of backstory on the song. Drummer Josh Day told his moving side of the inspiration: “My father, who was an incredible man, passed away in 2003. My mom and dad had been together since high school, and were an amazing dynamic duo, raising two boys. Shortly after my dad passed, my mom wrote a poem called “The Empty Chair.” The poem was of course a tearjerker, as my mom described the feeling of my dad no longer sitting beside her in his chair every night. My mom typed up this poem and gave it to me, just to have, really. I thought it was incredibly moving, and for the next 13 years, it stayed with me in my backpack wherever I went.”

Jay Nash provided the specifics: “As with most of our recordings, we tracked the drums, guitar, and lead vocal live. We both grew up listening to records that were created by a bunch of musicians getting together in a room and playing a song together. Capturing the spontaneous interaction and chemistry is the key component to a compelling record, in our estimation.”

Asked about their favorite lyrics from the song, not surprisingly, the two viewed it differently:

Josh Day: My favorite lyric from this song would probably be, “Now I’ve gone away, but there’ll be more sunny days, with the love and the family we’ve made.” I love this because I could hear my dad saying those exact words. Who knows, maybe they are his words; I just happened to receive them subconsciously.

Jay Nash: Perhaps the most obvious one for me, is the line that includes the title of the album, “I can see a room with all the lights on. I can see that all my friends are there. Just laughing with the reckless kind of abandon that you have, in the company of friends.”

Jay Nash continued:We’re hopeful that these songs that mean so very much to us will find their way into the hearts and homes of a wider audience. We actually received an invitation just yesterday to go play in a French prison, which, of course, we accepted. After that we will be making the rounds back here in the States.”

Learn more about the Contenders HERE

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See where they’ll be playing near you HERE

Album:  Laughing with the Reckless

Release Date:  November 3, 2017

Label:  Rock Ridge Music

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