Have you ever thought about sitting next to woodland creatures roasting marshmallows and drinking around a campfire out in the woods?
As the reader, you have now accepted a quest from The 1 oz. Jig that embarks you on an adventure through the overgrown landscape where ‘backwoods funk’ rules the forest.
Let the experience begin.
While staring into the flames, there is a familiar sound in the distance. At first it seems foreign, but it starts to bring back pleasant memories. The birds and amphibians mimic a trombone or trumpet, while the wind reminds us of a harmonic keyboard. Other instruments chime in as the sounds of noisy animals grow louder and seem closer still. In mid drink of your beverage, you look over your shoulder to see a rather rare scene indeed. Now emerging from the dark trees are an assortment of woodland creatures: a bear, elk, goose, bullfrog, fox, and even a beaver. The fellowship of the forest huddle around the burning light and begin to perform a funky ruckus that still remains apart of music culture today.
This is the scene I imagined in my head after my first time experiencing the sub genre of “backwoods funk.” The band’s overall performance was one to be remembered and I have never seen the horns and keyboard section be the stars of a six person ensemble that also includes guitar, bass, and drums. It is truly uniquely different.
The 1 oz. Jig consists of: Jeff Kearney (JK) - Guitar/Lead Singer Jeff Gray (JG) - Trumpet/Back-up Vocals Marty Payton (MP) - Drums --------------------------------- Matt Brooks - Bass Adam Becker - Keyboard Matt Beach - Trombone/Back-up Vocals
Gather 'round for the almost tall tales of The 1 oz. Jig as I had the opportunity to talk to half of the band. 1.) What inspired your band to go towards the funk genre and what styles influence your music? JK: "Yeah. We call it like 'Backwoods Funk.' I just love the way it connects with people ya know? It makes people dance and stuff. That's a magical thing I think. Of course we are all fans of funk music. It's god damned fun and it's just a lively spread of music to play. Ya know? I like the connection with crowds." MP: "I [was] a rock n' roller before I joined this band. [T]he nice thing about funk music[, but] especially with this band is we're able to bring it down, take it up and actually play funk music [with] an element of jazz [while we] completely rock out." JK: "Yeah." MP: "I think the reason jazz is such a big influence in our music is because the type of musicians that we have. We have your basic guitar, bass, drums and vocals. We also have a horn section. We have a keyboard section. Those musicians are generally classically trained and a lot of what goes into that classical training is jazz music. Therefore, I think that you can't get around the jazz influence when it comes to classically trained musicians. We have many classically trained musicians in this band. That's why." JK: "A lot of our music is improvisational too and jazz is the language that you need to speak that kind of thing. Ya know? Some of us are jazzier than others in the band. Jeff Gray is a monster of jazz." 2.) Has the song lyric style always resembled the poetry of George Carlin? JK: "Yeah. I'm a songwriter. So, I always loved funk music, but I thought one of the things [it] sort of lacked in [it] was a 'songwriter style'. All funk songs are about 'how funky the songs are.' They're like 'Flip the funk! Funky over here! Funky over here! We're so funky!' Ya know? So [I thought,] 'If you took funk[y] music[al] element[s] and added some song writer-y type junk to it or take the stories from honky-tonk and make funk out of 'em.' Ya know?"
3.) Describe your band's ability to adapt to different venues while traveling. JK: "One story comes to mind. Well there's several. Before the world blew up, we used to travel a lot. We would always do a few tours a year down to New Orleans and the Gulf coast. [We're] not in any high affluent tour bus business. We're like in a crummy van hauling a rented U-HAUL trailer. I remember this one place [when] we were in Pensacola, Florida or somethin'. This guy booking shows for us in the area said, 'I got you this date. It's in a big club. It's gonna be great!' Yeah, they always say that. So, we show up [and] we're the opening band. So, Pensacola can be a bit 'redneck,' but we [thought], 'We're from Arkansas! Surely we can get these dudes on our side.' We play funk music, but we talk about fishing and southern stuff. It's kind of confusing to some people. As soon as we start playing, people crowd the front of the stage, but they're just looking at us with a real pissed off look in their eyes. We [kept] wondering, 'Are they liking this?' So we get done and say, 'Hey! Thanks!' and we leave. The next band comes on." MP: "The crowd stays there the whole time through the break [and then] we realize they were saving their space for a country rap band." JK: "It's very confusing to play in front of people who are pushing up to the front really hard, but also staring at you like you're assholes. Touring places that you've never played is always completely insane." MP: "It's like [the] Iron Maiden [song] Stranger in a Strange Land." JK: "It's constantly like rolling with the punches. Trying to keep a good positive attitude and keep each other happy by telling…" MP: "Lies." JK: "Terrible jokes." 4.) Do you have a "most memorable" moment as a band? MP: "I have a most memorable moment. We were doing our south gulf coast tour and we had a wheel bearing go out." JK: "Which makes every noise you don't want a car to make." MP: (mimicking the sound of a wheel bearing going out) "AAAHHHHHEEEEEEEHHHHHHHRRRRRHHH!" JK: "Sounds like a bag of cats." JG: "Like a baby." MP: "Like a baby elephant having a baby out it's snout. It was the worst fucking day." JK: "I don't think that's even possible." JG: "So, for literally 7 hours straight we [took turns] hit[ting] this wheel bearing with a hammer." MP: "When I was in junior high band, there was a sign on the band room wall that said, 'BE A LEADER, BE A FOLLOWER, OR GET OUT OF THE FUCKING WAY.'" JG: "Did it have the cuss word in it?" MP: "No it didn't." JG: "God damn it Marty!" MP: "But I heard it in my mind. That whole day I was like, 'I'm not a fucking mechanic, so I'm just gonna stay out of the way.' So after about 4 fucking hours of them banging on this thing, I ask them, 'Hey, are you guys just banging on that thing trying to get it off?' [They say,] 'Yeah.' [I say,] 'Well let me have a turn.' So I went BANG. BANG. CLINK! The wheel bearing came off." JK: "We're all just sitting there [thinking], 'What the fuck just happened?'" MP: "The best part of it was we got the wheel bearing off. We got a tow truck, but the only hotel room we could find in all of Daphne, Alabama was 'the suite' at Embassy Suites!" JK: "We found that [room] after the guy driving the tow truck cursed us out for like two hours." MP: "Yeah, that was fun." JK: "[The tow truck guy] was like, 'Well, this is never going to work because you can't tow a van that's towing a trailer.'" MP: "It's illegal, but they did it anyway." JK: "[The tow guy] said, 'You guys get in the van. You hang down, get down real low...'" MP: "…and we're gonna tow ya on the side of the road up to the Embassy Suites.' So, we finally get there. Everybody is super frustrated. Jeff Kearney comes up to me and Drew Packard, the bass player at the time [with] a wad of money. He says, 'I want you to walk up to that convenient store and buy all the beer that this money can buy.'" JK: "Then I handed some of the other guys money and said, 'You go get pizza. I saw a pizza place over there.'" MP: "So, me and Drew Packard walked a quarter mile to the convenient store with this wad of money and [walk back to the hotel] with six packs under each arm. The moment that Saturday Night Live came on [the TV in the hotel], there was a knock at the door. Kearney opens the door and it's the Domino's delivery guy with a stack of fucking pizzas. That was the best night of the tour because we had a night off, even though we missed out on $1500. We were in a suite altogether and we stayed up all night talking, drinking, and eating pizza." JK: "Laughing our little asses off." MP: "It was the shittiest day that turned into the best day of the tour."
Video Link on Instagram: 1/29/21 @ George's Majestic Lounge - The 1 oz. Jig https://www.instagram.com/p/CKrKIUthRHV/
Never stop exploring new genres of music because you never know what amazing gems you might come across, just like this band. Make sure you drain your brain to something good and keep on the path of true self discovery.