On ‘Young Man,’ Jamestown Revival reflects on growing up

“Somehow we always trick ourselves into thinking that we’re going to have it all figured out, but it just turns out we’re all ducks on the water.”

By Jill Ament & Shelly BrisbinJanuary 14, 2022 9:09 am, ,

Childhood friends Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay met in Magnolia, Texas, where they grew up. They’ve played music together as folk duo, Jamestown Revival since 2014.

Their music ranges among folk, roots rock and Americana styles – think John Denver, Simon and Garfunkel or Crosby, Stills and Nash. And they’ve performed for national audiences at Coachella and Bonnaroo, as well as the hometown crowd at Austin City Limits Music Festival and South by Southwest.

Just as it has for a lot of musicians, the pandemic has challenged Jamestown Revival. On their latest album, “Young Man,” the duo addresses the isolation they’ve felt. Songs on the album also touch on creating tighter bonds with family and friends, as well as coming to terms with aging.

Jamestown Revival’s Chance and Clay spoke with the Texas Standard about their new album, “Young Man,” which comes out Friday.

Chance says Jamestown Revival was touring when pandemic lockdowns began in spring 2020.

“It all happened so abruptly, I think it took us awhile to really gather ourselves again, and figure out what we were doing,” he said.

Clay agrees, but says the time away from performing gave the duo a chance to create music in different ways than they had before.

The album that came out of their time away from stages is more cohesive than some of their previous projects, Clay says. Jamestown Revival also decided to make a fully-acoustic album for the first time, which seemed natural because they had been performing the songs that way in Chance’s kitchen. Once they got into the studio, that choice made even more sense to them.

“We had Ross Holmes on fiddle and Will Van Horn on pedal steel, and so both of those guys are very capable of filling the space that an electric guitar would take,” Chance said.

Texas is home to the duo, though they spent time in California early in their careers. And “Young Man” takes advantage of those Lone Star roots, from the players and producer to the content of the songs, Clay says. The album’s title connects to their early days of touring as musicians, and their long friendship.

“We were sleeping in the back of our cars, or on floors, and we were playing shows for, you know, ten people on a good night,” Clay says. “It was not glamorous. It was actually deflating and depressing, but there was also something about it that was really special. It’s just that dumb vigor – just feeling like you didn’t even care. You just went forward.”

Now, as adults, Chance says, he and Clay reflect on their youth in terms of their relationships with parents and Clay’s two young sons.

“Somehow we always trick ourselves into thinking that we’re going to have it all figured out, but it just turns out we’re all ducks on the water,” Chance said.

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