June 23, 2022 · 0 comments
Written by Isabel Buckmaster
A blend of classic rockabilly and bluegrass surfing on the “spaghetti western waves,” Jay Capes want to make Orangeville residents “swing and swing” on Canada Day.
One of the main artists of the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival since 2014, Jason Kipps is the lead vocalist for his self-titled group, The Jay Kipps Band. Playing with a different band for their performance July 1 at the Island Lake Conservation Area, Kipps will accompany Morgan Smith on lead guitar and Frank Pesci on bass, with the show running from 6:30-9pm.
“It’s a great place and we’re grateful to Orangeville for thinking of us,” said Kipps, whose band was first to play on the Island Lake Conservation stage when “it was still a concept.” It is set to test sound quality and how music can travel over water.
“We’re an original business and while it’s easy to book wedding bands and play all those favorite classics, this is an original work of music from Orangeville and Mono, that’s how our community sounds and it’s good to see that we’re supporting original music,” Kipps said.
While music was something he always wanted to pursue, when his baby boy was stillborn, that pushed him back to his roots. A passionate traveler, Kipps often relied on the harmonica and harp on his travels around the world, and as his instruments had always “carried him to safe harbors in a remote wilderness,” they steered him toward a new path.
“I’ve been shy for most of my adult life, and have never played in public,” Kipps said. “Then I joined a band and people really liked it. Their reaction was more than I could have imagined so I just started doing more.”
While the gritty grain of the bass brings the band’s sound to classic alternative rock, kipp’s vocals are woven with harmonicas that add the warmth of country and home he loves. Originally an outlet for melancholy, Jay Cubs’ music captures the “pain of five generations of Canadian roots” and develops it into inspiring endings of “authenticity and love.”
Playing a mix of covers and originals, Kipps prides himself on playing “different covers”, leaning towards the B-sides of famous artists and making them his own. He knows it would have been a hit if the audience missed the original piece by Jay Cubs.
“What makes (our) original is that they are loyal from the start. I chose each word to reflect a specific circumstance, so we try to choose covers that reflect that as well,” Kibbs said. “When I choose our covers, it’s the ones that have influenced me or represent a place in my life. I find it really hard to cover any song that doesn’t have that meaning, so we try to pick songs that sound like the original.”
The pandemic challenged the band’s momentum, and canceled all 30 shows in the band’s lineup. The band thought 2020 was their year, after releasing a successful album, but while performing nationally at festivals like the East Coast Music Festival, events came with extra work and a less creative release.
“For a virtual performance, you have to set up the cameras and video, and basically, you put together a music video, which is a whole other layer of editing and working in addition to just presenting the show,” Kipps said. “You’re also playing for a computer rather than an audience, so you didn’t get the liveliness and energy from the audience and that’s why I’m doing it.”
But with the pandemic sparking a “new appreciation for live music,” the group has high hopes for the future.
“Booking shows takes a lot of hard work, and so starting over from scratch was hard work,” Kipps said. “But the fans keep us going, you know, there’s no better feeling than when someone in the audience knows your songs.”
To see Jay Kipps Band Live, visit the Island Lake Conservation Area Amphitheater from 6:30 to 9 p.m. July 1.