Bassist Smilin Jay McDowell (BR5-49)

Smilin' Jay McDowell

June 11, 1969, Bedford, IN

According to Jay, his career as a professional musician didn't take off until he made a huge change. The inspiration for Jay's transformation began when he told his friends that the songs they were playing would sound better with a stand-up bass. Without his prior acknowledgement, they were thinking the same thing. As a result, they asked him to be the bass player. When Jay and his new band mates played together for the first time, something clicked. They knew they had something special. What Jay lacked in experience, he made up in his understanding of the band’s repertoire. His transformation was complete. He switched from guitar to stand-up bass. The change in instruments, took Jay on a journey of rediscovery through his record collection. He went through his old albums and he focused on what the bass was doing instead of the guitar. “It was like hearing Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley for the first time again.” ~ Musicians Hall Of Fame: Smilin' Jay McDowell ~ October 2013 © Musicians Hall Of Fame

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June 11, 1994 ~ Billboard Hot 100 ~ #3 (11) Janet Jackson, Any Time, Any Place/And On And On ~ #2 (2) Madonna, I'll Remember ~ #1 (1_ All-4-One, I Swear



One of the most critically acclaimed alternative country bands of the '90s, BR5-49's sound, style, and even look were unabashedly retro. Dressing in old, budget-friendly clothes, the band played a mixture of classic '50s honky tonk, Western swing, boogie, Bakersfield country, rockabilly, and Gram Parsons-style country-rock. […] BR5-49's first release was an EP, Live at Robert's, which appeared in early 1996 and featured both originals and vintage country covers. The group built up their following via tours with the Mavericks, Junior Brown, and rockers the Black Crowes, and also issued their self-titled debut album later in the year. BR5-49 won rave reviews from both country and rock critics, and climbed into the country Top 40 with virtually no support from country radio. ~ Allmusic: BR5-49 ~ retrieved December 19, 2013 © Allmusic

BR5-49 ~ Big Backyard Beat Show (1998) ~ Ranked #89 #DLW500 Dylan's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time in 2012

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