Second Half of the Bet (Hope Again)
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 new 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. In the past two years, the Los Angeles based artist has performed with classical Indian musicians in Kerala, toured the western United States to promote healthcare reform, been 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 in both his musical and literary capacities. Jason recorded The Second Half of the Bet (Hope Again) as 2010 came to a close, layering guitars, bass, vocals and percussion in that 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, retaining the strong personality of what Jason irreverently calls "groovy acoustic soul." "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 felt the need to portray myself in my songs. Still, these songs represent the questions I'm pondering now. 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.