Orange Pop: Prolific Jameson issues ‘Synergist'
Jameson Burt isn’t one to sit still.
The local folk singer-songwriter splits his time between playing guitar in Santa Ana-based rock outfit Echo Echo and performing his solo material, under just Jameson. He’s been working diligently on a big-production, full-length disc at legendary Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles for more than a year, but since that project is progressing at a slower pace, he’s issued a self-recorded album, “Synergist,” this week with a release party at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa.
Jameson excitedly discussed the various projects he has in the works when we met for tea at the Gypsy Den in downtown Santa Ana last week. His work ethic may be fierce, but in person he’s calm and cool, speaking slowly and thoughtfully between puffs of a cigarette. It’s been a year since he shared news of the opus he’s cutting in L.A., but the laid-back musician says with confidence that what comes out of that lengthy time in the studio will be worth the wait.
“When it’s out I’ll feel fantastic,” he says. “I’m really proud of it so far. I can’t be frustrated that it’s not out because the opportunity to work with (Henson Studios) has been such an amazing experience, and as people they are so supportive. When the time is right, it will be done.”
Meanwhile, in the past year the prolific Jameson has put together a full band to back him, recorded the nine-song “Synergist” set, began work on a seven-song EP of all-new material that he hopes to have out soon, and there’s a banjo record – most of which he wrote while working at a local strawberry stand – on his plate as well. He’s been writing and recording like crazy and can’t wait to share what he’s created.
“For me, when I like an artist, I’m like, ‘Yes, give me more, the more the better’ … unless it’s (crap),” he says. “I think it’s dangerous to put out too much if the quality isn’t up to your standards. I’m not just putting out every idea I ever thought of. It just so happens that I have a lot of stuff right now that I want people to hear. It won’t always be that way. I don’t think that’s something you can control.”
Jameson’s release party featured his full band: backing vocalist Pavla Dlab, omnipresent local keys player and producer Dallas Kruse, bassist Dave Beste, guitarist Justin Burrow and drummer John Wilson. Since his previous releases have been strictly solo efforts, Jameson was eager to take this group into the studio to capture what they’ve been doing live for the past several months. (He also performs at a special “Dinner with Dave” event Wednesday at Memphis at the Santora in Santa Ana.)
“Having the band is the greatest feeling because everyone in it is not only reliable, they’re so good at what they do – better than anyone else I know. Playing with them live is such a freeing experience because it’s like this freight train behind me – I know where it’s going and I just get to ride it. They’re constantly surprising me and since last summer it really feels like every show is twice as good as the one before it.”
As for the record’s lyrical content, he says it’s mostly about tension, of living in a world where there are always two choices.
“The tension of having options is always there,” he explains. “I think the title kind of comes out of being affected by more than one element at a time and always having options – and trying to find certainty while knowing that you always have these options. And, I guess, trying to get free of that burden of always having to chose either this way or that way.
“The first line of the record is: ‘You’re afraid of pain / You’re afraid of too much pleasure.’ I think every song has some kind of position like that. You’re afraid of this, but you’re afraid of that – so which way should you go?”