Jason Luckett Bio Archives

Second Half of the Bet (Hope Again!) Feature Bio:

Jason Luckett sits in a hardwood studio untouched by time, tapping rhythm on a foot stool used by Andrés Segovia, singing through vintage preamps used on a Spice Girls tour…. OK, the story’s getting weird, but it sets the scene for the recording of the singer/songwriter’s album, The Second Half of the Bet (Hope Again), a warm collection of songs traversing the afterglow of youthful wagers.  With an eye toward hope, the sounds of jazz, samba, reggae, bluegrass, soul and folk blend seamlessly into a coherent whole.

Leading up to this recording, the Los Angeles based artist performed with classical Indian musicians in Kerala, toured the western United States to promote healthcare reform, was published in the groundbreaking literary anthology The Black Body,  and read as part of the prestigious ALOUD series at the Los Angeles Public Library and Sit ‘n Spin at the Comedy Central Stage.  He also contributed a solo theatrical piece to The Emmett Till Project at Highways Performance Space and twice featured at The Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival for his music and prose.

Jason recorded The Second Half of the Bet (Hope Again) in a home once owned by classical guitar pioneer Theodore Norman, layering guitars, bass, vocals and percussion in his magical wood-paneled studio, mostly solo, with a couple loving assists from vocalist Nailah Porter, bassist David Sutton and engineer Ted Blaisdell.  As wide-ranging as his activities of the past couple years, SHOTB moves organically through folk, jazz, rock and world rhythm influences.

“A lot of the work I did during the past couple years dealt with the diverse cultural influence in my life and how I was able to create a coherent identity bumping through the ‘mulatto moments.’  This album takes the jazz and Brazilian sounds I heard growing up along with the classic rock and post-punk that I got in the ‘burbs and integrates them better than I ever have before.”

Another byproduct of his recent literary work is the freedom Jason felt to leave his biography behind and dig deeper into the situations and stories in these songs.

“After a couple years of seriously mining my history for different projects, I found a real freedom in searching for emotional truths within largely fictional constructs.  I no longer needed to portray myself in my songs.  Still, these songs represent the questions I’m still pondering.  It’s called The Second Half of the Bet because I like that we make these grand wagers in youth, then we have to figure out what they all mean.  Then when I considered Steven Simko’s beautiful cover image, I knew that I had to append the title to include ‘Hope Again.’  There’s beauty in retaining youthful wonder as we move ahead with a bit more wisdom.   Grappling with the imperfection of where we are personally or politically after making euphoric and idealistic decisions, I consistently remind myself to choose hope.”

Jason’s played festivals all over the world from Glastonbury to South by Southwest, recorded or played with musicians as diverse as the Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge, Kenny Burrell, and members of Bauhaus and Red Hot Chili Peppers, been a staff writer for EMI and is a published poet.  Check jasonluckett.com for discography, publications, tours and more info on Jason, Segovia and the Spice Girls.

He’s released eight discs on his Lucky Masala Head label.

mMix Feature Bio:

Jason Luckett is a singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles.  His organic sound is a vibrant mixture of passion and peace.  His primary influences include Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, and the Smiths.

“I used to call it ‘sweaty soul folk’, ‘organic pop’ then ‘groovyacousticsoul,’ but what it really is a mixture of rock and folk with a spiritual connection to jazz protest artists like Nina Simone and Oscar Brown, Jr. I loved Gil Scott-Heron and the Smiths in college, then I read a lot of Bukowski, Rilke and Orwell while busking around Europe after graduation.  I’d listen to Bob Dylan and Astrud Gilberto in my walkman traveling by train to museums in search of paintings by Vermeer, Klimt, and Egon Schiele.   That kind of shaped me into a kind of artist attracted to activist political poetry, romance, melancholy and frank sensuality.  I also developed a penchant for direct and loud acoustic music to capture the attention of passing tourists and earn enough for a hotel that night.”

A Southern Californian, Jason was born in Hawaii, with roots in Mississippi and Maine, USA.  If that seems a navigational conundrum, the music clarifies.  He brings stories from all stops with residual suburban angst… and a healthy dose of urban consciousness.

Jason spent most of his childhood in Irvine, CA. He picked up a degree in Communication Studies at UCLA. He also did time at Warner Bros. Records in the Black Music Dept. and at original LA punk label, Slash Records, scouting talent, before being swept up as an artist for EMI Music publishing. Somehow in there he shared management with the likes of Michael Jackson, Roseanne, and the “Sweet Caroline” singer, Neil Diamond…. Yeah, he thinks it’s bizarre, too.

After those brushes with the “superstar” makers, he split to England and wrote his first album as the outgrowth of a planned stage play called J Masala Griot, (“Masala” being a mixture of colors and spices; “Griot,” a family storyteller/musician/historian; “J” just for vanity.)

Going further underground back in the States he put out a cassette tape called Suicide or Celebration? and began a life as a traveling musician.

mMix is Jason’s seventh disc. It asks if transcendence is possible when nakedly requested. (“In a song called mystery and wonder / can there be any of either?”) Perhaps it’s an outgrowth of his previous release arrogance procrastination fear humility (APFH). That disc ends up with him understanding that he needs to ask. In this one, he knows what he’s asking for.  The questions may be huge, but as he says in the hook of APFH’s, Lovesjoy, “you can’t win if you don’t try.”

Once again Jason mixes passions of politics and love, with humor, insight and left field pop references in a quest for truth and grounding in this mad time we share now.  This one sounds less like Joni meets Marvin and more like Shuggie Otis hanging out with Travis, listening to Wilco, the Smiths and Burt Bacharach. A purely solo recording, Jason plays a bunch of instruments on it, yet still tours as a solo acoustic guitar act.

In that regard, the past few years Jason’s toured the US several times and performed in Europe.  He’s also performed consistently at poetry venues in Los Angeles as a featured artist and musician.  Off the road, he works with youth programs through the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), mentoring teenagers in music as well as creating original music for NCCJ Presents, a theatrical outreach program.  And, to come clean, he’s also scored a couple independent films and TV commercials.