Country singer/songwriter Jason Eady is one fascinating guy. Not only did Eady perform secret missions for the Air Force, he did so after spending two years learning Arabic. After leaving the military, Eady picked up a guitar and started making some seriously fine Americana music.
From his home in Granbury and in anticipation of his CD release show this Friday at Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge, Eady was kind enough to talk to DC9 about his upcoming new release, Daylight & Dark, and how he might just be the only country singer who speaks Arabic.
Living in Granbury, isn't that a rough commute to play shows in the Dallas area?
I love it, though. I lived in Fort Worth for ten years. I still say that I am from Fort Worth. For me, Granbury is not that much farther away. We moved down to Granbury because it is a way to get away. When I lived in Fort Worth, things were always going on. There was always something to go do and see. Granbury is just far enough out of town. It's quiet. When I am home, I am home. It kind of forces me to take some time off. It does add a bit of time to the commute, but our band, we live everywhere. One guy lives out by D/FW airport. Another guy lives in Waco. We are all kind of driving to find a central place to meet up.
Are you originally from Granbury?
No, I grew up in Mississippi. I lived there until I was 20 and then I joined the Air Force. I was in the Air Force a long time. After I got out, I moved back to Mississippi. Then I moved to Fort Worth in 2002. I was in my late 20's when I moved to Fort Worth. I went there for a job. I lived in Fort Worth until about this time last year.
Are you officially a Texan now?
I have almost lived in Texas as long as I have lived anywhere else. In a couple of years I will have lived in Texas longer than I lived in Mississippi growing up. Soon, that will be a true statement, but yes, I do consider myself a Texan.
You were a translator in the Air Force. What other language do you speak?
How and why did you learn Arabic?
I learned it at an Air Force school. They sent me to school to learn that. It was a two year school. It was a pretty intense school. That is all you do for two years is learn the language. It was an intensive program, but it was good. I was just looking for a way out of Mississippi. I was looking for something different. I had grown up in this small town and really hadn't seen much of anything. I had this feeling that I wanted to get out and the Air Force seemed like the quickest way to do that. I did a 180 real quick with my life. I went from hanging out in Mississippi to learning a language I had never even thought about my whole life. I ended up living all over the world, traveling all over the world. It opened things up real quick for me.
Did you serve in Iraq or Afghanistan?
Yes, a little bit. I was kind of between the wars. Honestly, the stuff we did was real, real classified. I can't really talk about any of it. We had a job to do. I wasn't officially in any of the wars. I was after Desert Storm and got out before 9/11.
Are you only American country singer that speaks Arabic?
I've never met another one.
Have you thought about writing a song in Arabic?
I have thought about it. It's really hard to do, to work that in. You know Corb Lund? He called me one time about writing a song from an Arab guy's point of view. He called me and wanted some phrases for the song. I don't know if he ever recorded the song or not, but he did write it. That's as close to writing a song in Arabic as I've gotten.
You've stated the your new album, Daylight & Dark, is not a concept album. What is it?
The reasons I've said that is a concept album, to me, is written that way. You start out with the idea of telling one character's story from start to finish. You want all those songs to weave together. The only reason I distinguish that from my new album is because I really want to do a concept album. I want to sit down and consciously do that. With this record, it's more after the fact that I looked back and figured all these songs were from the same guy. It just worked out that way instead of being intentional. When I went into the studio with these songs, I realized they were from the same guy, his story over time. They did kind of weave together, but it wasn't intentional when I was writing it. It became intentional when we recorded it. We recorded it with that in mind as one song would fade into the next one. Each song had to work with the song that came after it.
Do you always write autobiographically?
No, not at all. It's about half and half these days. I used to write that way all of the time. You can't always write about your own story because you will only have three albums in you and then you are done. There is only so much you can say about yourself. I think it all has to come from things that you have experienced, something you have gone through. But you can't just write one true story after another. I've gone through all that. I try to look through a character now, put what I know into another person.
Have you thought about writing a novel?
Yes, I have. I don't know if I have the patience for it. I love reading novels by people like Larry McMurtry. I love reading books on writing. I like to know the theory being the writing. I also love telling my stories in 3 or 5 minutes. I like letting that be it. I like going out that night and letting it be immediate. I love that about songs. With books, you can sit in a room by yourself for a year. The immediacy of songwriting appeals to me.