Video Premiere: Jay Gavin “Rhythms and Rhymes”

Jay Gavin’s new single ‘Rhythms and Rhymes’ delivers exactly that: a strong foot-tapping beat and an uptempo feel.  Buoyant and stirring, the rhythm is a great foundation for Gavin’s characterful voice, catchy melody and engaging lyrics.  The song is tribute to John Prine and, fittingly, it was written and recorded on the great man’s birthday, 10th October 2022 and its release coincides with Prine’s passing.  Gavin was heading to Nashville to record a couple of songs for his next album with Denny Knight and realised that his route would take him through Kentucky.  He was struck by how close he would be to the locations featured in Prine’s classic song ‘Paradise’ and decided to take the opportunity to seek out this paradise for himself.  He explains: “The song ‘Paradise’ has been a staple of my set since I first started singing and playing folk country. I’ve sung that song so many times that I felt nostalgic for a place that I’d never actually been.”  Gavin continues: “I was inspired to write the song after seeking out Muhlenberg County, KY and all the sites from John’s song ‘Paradise’ on my way to Nashville last year. It was so magical and inspirational swimming in the Green River, checking out the Rochester Dam and climbing up Airdrie Hill to find the ‘abandoned old prison.’ I wrote the song on the spot. After recording the song in Nashville the very next day with GRAMMY-nominated Denny Knight (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Bill Monroe, The Allman Brothers), I went back out to Muhlenberg Country on my own and self-filmed a video.”

The journey sounds like an epic pilgrimage.  Gavin explains: “It was a 20-hour drive with a restless sleep on the side of the road near Kansas City.  I was exhausted and bleary-eyed when I missed the turn off onto the Western Kentucky Parkway and had to double back. It was very late and dark when I pulled to a stop by the John Prine Memorial Park.  The anxiety of the road just melted off me as I got out to breathe in the air.  I couldn’t wait until the morning when I would be able to see enough to explore.  What a tumultuous sleep that was; hot and sweaty and dreaming of what it would all look like when I got up. In the morning I was overwhelmed with emotion as my head darted in every direction trying to take it all in.  I’d heard and sang ‘Paradise’ so many times that finally being there in Muhlenberg County, just feet from the Rochester Dam on the banks of the Green River I felt like I was home!  I was so overwhelmed that I had to sit down and cry.  This is where John Prine spent summers as a kid fishing for catfish, shooting pop bottles and hiking in the hills!  I couldn’t help myself and took the opportunity to enjoy a swim in the famed Green River . The cool water enveloped me and reminded me of my own summers as a kid in my own ‘backwards old town’ swimming in the Atlantic Ocean on the shores of PEI Canada where I grew up.  I got out my guitar and started singing my favourite Prine songs…Walking through the ruins it felt like a fairy tale and I never wanted to leave.  I hiked back down for my guitar and took it back up to the ‘prison’ site.  I was so inspired that a melody came to me while John’s own words floated through my head. I wrote ‘Rhythm and Rhymes’ right there.”

Through the good-humoured video, we get to share in Gavin’s experience, exploring the scenes immortalised in Prine’s song.  We see Gavin waking by the river, dancing by edge and playing guitar in that spooky old ‘prison’ in the woods, bringing these locations to life.  As it was all created on impulse, he didn’t have the usual video-recording equipment to hand but, armed with just his iPhone and iPad, he hiked back to those same magical places to film himself.  He says: “It was easier this time since I knew where to go but it was still quite a journey and I had to fight the clock as the golden hour ran out. I’m pretty proud of how it turned out!  Despite the DIY, low budget nature of the project, I was able to capture a lot of the magic and the joy in my eyes speaks for itself!”  Gavin’s story is one that will resonate with Prine’s many fans and it’s a piece of work that’ll just make you smile.

Gavin has worked with a number of fine collaborators on his new material.  As well as acclaimed producer Denny Knight, Bobby Bradley (nephew of Owen Bradley) engineered, and musicians involved include guitarist Jeff Williams (June Carter Cash’s Living Circle Band),  Steve Hinson on steel and dobro (Country Music Hall of Fame) and Nashville’s Deannie Richardson on fiddle.  It’s an exciting period of creativity for Gavin, who told AUK: “I’ve been barely sleeping, going non-stop in the studio since I got to Nashville.”

This is a tale that shows there’s magic in music.  We just happen to be posting the video for ‘Rhythms and Rhymes’ on Jay Gavin’s birthday, so we wish him all the best from AUK.

About Andrew Frolish 1438 Articles
From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Nils Lofgren, Ferris & Sylvester, Tommy Prine, Jarrod Dickenson, William Prince, Frank Turner, Our Man in the Field...
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Rob Bennet

More nobodies from Britain please

Paul Kerr

Have to say not sure what your comment means. Are you welcoming articles on UK artists or saying they are no good?

Andrew Frolish

Not sure if Rob’s comment relates to Jay Gavin but, just so you know, Jay is from the USA.

Jason Gavin

Actually I’m from Canada!