Almost nothing about Jaron and The Long Road to Love fits the model for up-and-coming Country acts. Begin with the name: You might think it belongs to a band, but it’s actually one person, Jaron Lowenstein, announcing his commitment to tell a story through song of where he’s been and where he’s bound on life’s highway.
Then there’s the fact that Jaron isn’t exactly a rookie. Although he didn’t start singing until after high school and never even picked up a musical instrument until he was 20 years old, he enjoyed success after joining his twin brother Evan to perform and record as, simply, Evan and Jaron. They left their Atlanta hometown, moved to Southern California, released a couple of albums, played some high-profile gigs and eventually split up.
End of story? Not at all. Seeking to redefine himself, Jaron drove to Nashville. Crashing on couches and in a friend’s spare bedroom, he toned down the pop ironies that had colored his previous work and opened to the more honest expressions that guide those who write in the Country vein. “I gave up a lot to pursue something that I felt was what I was meant to do,” he said. “It was at once scary and beautiful.”
The results of this effort aren’t scary at all, though Jaron’s self-produced debut album does have plenty of beautiful moments, some disarmingly candid lyrics and an abundance of strongly crafted tunes. Released by Jaronwood/Universal Republic Nashville in association with Big Machine Records, Getting Dressed in the Dark features seven tracks that Jaron wrote solo. He also co-wrote the remaining three, including its first single, “Pray for You.” With collaborator Joel Brentlinger, he invests this narrative with a humor whose dark twists are underscored by a churchy introduction, upbeat mid-tempo arrangement and deadpan vocal. Come to think of it, some of that L.A. irony lingers after all.
IN HIS OWN WORDS Q&A
CD IN YOUR STEREO
“Twisted, by Del Amitri.”
“People who leave trash for others to pick up.”
WORD YOU SAY OVER AND OVER
“Frans — my name for fans, part fan/part friend.”
TITLE OF YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY
MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE YOU’D RELIVE
“None — the best is yet to come.”
“Billy Joel or Justin Currie from the band Del Amitri.”
SONG YOU’D SECRETLY LIKE TO COVER
“I don’t have secrets. If I want to cover a song, I do it. I have covered songs from Lady Gaga to Bobby Darin and all in between.”
DREAM DUET PARTNER
“Currently, Taylor Swift. I’d like to write and perform a ‘duelette’ with her. A duel meets a duet. So it wouldn’t be a love song … it would be a ‘you hurt me’ song with both sides equally heard from.”
BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND
“You’re Nobody in Show Business Until Someone Wants You Dead by Bernie Brillstein.”
“The Freight Room in Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 13, 1993. Me and my bro entertained a crowd of about 50 people. It was amazing. I’ll never forget that rush of getting off the stage. It was just as big as getting off stage in front of 40,000 people because it was my first time.”