2018 marks the biggest twelve months of change for me in a very long time. The beautiful Tab Gonzalez and I were married in my home town of Santa Rosa, California after a three week road trip that took us as far east as Cumberland Falls, Kentucky before we looped back around to San Diego. We were also fortunate enough to end up flying to Singapore last January and to the island of Kauai over Thanksgiving.
One reason we said yes to all of this travel is that I think 2019 will be another year of change as we look to start a family, and I expect that means we will be spending a lot of time at home. To what degree creating music is going to fit into my life in the near future is hard to say, only that I know it will definitely be there. I’ve been having fun jamming with friends, playing the Sheldon’s gigs, and randomly busting out Baby Shark on my new ukulele because Tab can’t resist doing the dance moves.
One thing I know I can do during this time is continue to create original songs; maybe to perform them, maybe to give them away, or maybe just to get better at the art. Surprising my wife with her very own song at our wedding ceremony was the most meaningful performance I have ever given. Though I may never play Coachella or Kaaboo, or merely sell enough to break even on my two solo albums, I’d like to think all of my efforts will continue to pay off in other ways for the rest of my life.
Happy 2019 and please let me know what your 2018 was like and what you’re looking forward to in this upcoming year!
When was the last time Ezekiel Jay partnered with a talented artist to produce an animated music video for one of his songs? That’s right, it has never happened… until now.
I may have limited my live shows a bit, but it doesn’t mean great things aren’t happening on the sly, unbeknownst to all. I have always wanted to do a video for the song Front Row, because it has little stories that lend themselves to being told with… perhaps… foxes, iguanas and yaks. My friend, illustrator Nick Navatta, said he was up for the challenge of making that happen. So Nick and I now bring you:
Front Row, the musical. Enjoy!
Also, if you want to come out and help me celebrate my birthday, this year’s EZJ birthday show will be at:
Sheldon’s La Mesa
April 14, 2018, 10am to 1:30pm
Today we wave the American flag. It’s what our tribe does, and it feels good to celebrate all the goodness that America is. What we sacrificed in World War II is probably the most shining, unforgettable example. And the value we place on the freedom of speech is still winning out against those trying to curb it from both the far right and far left and it gives me a feeling of being fortunate to be born here, in the USA.
And yet, for me to be ME, I can’t just indulge in wearing the (admittedly bad-ass) stars and stripes without some serious questioning of what it all means. I shudder when I hear the words “love it or leave it” because I don’t even know what that means to love an institution. Gratitude, privilege, and a feeling of being fortunate are what comes up for me in reflection on being American. But love; love is something that I have for people. So yes, I love and feel connected to American people because I love people. Does loving America mean I have to love Americans more than Canadians or Mexicans? Must I profess to value the lives of Americans more than those of other countries, to, in effect, say they are worth more? I get confused here at a philosophical level.
America protects me. Our military protects me, and I am grateful for that safety and protection. For the people who were wounded and died giving me that protection, I have profound respect and admiration. They are the tribal warriors protecting the tribe, and it’s a tradition that goes back thousands of years. And in return for that protection, am I obligated to feel a particular way that puts America as a concept and a body of people “First” when I feel into my own humanity? I will pay my taxes, I will be a peaceful member of society, and I will be damn grateful that I was born in a country that values personal freedom, where I was able to make my own path in life with some planning and work.
“I love America” feels good to say, today, though, does it not? Love is a shorter, simpler word to say than gratitude or connectedness. It sums up a lot of things, but it hides a lot of things, too. It hides our history and what was done to Africans and native people for hundreds of years. Is it wrong to feel the sadness of being and American along with the joy? Is it wrong to acknowledge the complexity of our history and our current political state? If I am truly going to be me, I have to acknowledge all of it.
So happy birthday, America. I just want you to know there’s a whole lot going on for me under the hood of this Ford Mustang with the stars and stripes painted on the doors.
I am beyond excited to invite you to one of Ezekiel Jay’s biggest shows yet! The Belly Up Tavern is one of San Diego’s most prestigious music venues and the EZJ Band will be playing there as part of a very big night, Sunday July 16. We’re supporting Kathryn Cloward‘s big record release, plus it’s a charity event for Rady Children’s Hospital. Also playing are Heather Nation and Steve Denyes and I fully expect all the bands to be putting on epic performances!
Belly Up Event Page
Also, here are some upcoming EZJ duo/trio restaurant shows in La Mesa. Good food and hours of covers and originals!
@ Sheldon’s Cafe
8401 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
Saturday, June 24, 11:30am – 3pm
Saturday, July 22, 11:30am – 3pm
@ BLVD Noodles
8325 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
Saturday, July 1, 6pm – 9pm
Next month, The Ezekiel Jay Band plays the SD Fair for the first time in 3 years! You know, in San Diego we experience something called June Gloom, where it’s overcast for much of the day from May until July. But we might as well call it the June BOOM because we’re going to be making some noise! Check it out:
* EZJ Band filming at CCMA studios – this Sunday, May 28!
Sun, May 28, 2-5 pm
(Originally scheduled for April)
The gurlz of Gurlz Talk Rawk, Traci and Beth, want to film an EZJ Band performance for their new Studio Sessions program. This will be an in-studio show with interview! RSVP or email me if you can make it. It’s in the San Marcos area.
* EZJ Band at the San Diego County Fair
Friday, June 9, 4:30-5:30 pm
So it IS fair! Check us out at the O’Brien stage right near the front entrance.
* EZJ Band at De Oro Mine Company
Friday, June 9, 8-11pm
Sharing the night with Kathryn Cloward. Our second show that day!
* EZJ solo at Sheldon’s Cafe, La Mesa
Good food and tons of covers and originals
Saturday, June 24, 11:30am – 3pm
Well, it is jazz appreciation month, but why else is April the best month? Because it’s my birthday month! My birthday was April 16 and I already had one birthday celebration, but we’re gonna have a couple more before this month is out.
* EZJ BirthEarthDay
Sun, April 23, 3-6 pm
At Sheldon’s Service Station Cafe
With vocals by Cadence Baron
* EZJ Band filming at CCMA studios – you’re invited!
Sun, April 30, 2-5 pm
MageRadio is starting up from the gurlz of Gurlz Talk Rawk, Traci and Beth. I was on their radio show last year and now they want to film an EZJ Band performance for their new Studio Sessions program. This will be an in-studio show with interview! Please RSVP here or email me if you think you can make it. It’s in the San Marcos area.
* EZJ Band at The Holding Company in OB
With The Peripherals
Wed, May 10, details TBA
* EZJ at BLVD Noodles in La Mesa
Sun, May 14, 5-8 pm
With Israel Garcia on percussion
Motorbikes, metrocables, jungle highways, river rapids, toucans, giant insects, arepas, obleas con arequipe, and no ingles! Tab and I recently came back from visiting her family in Medellin, Colombia. While it would be impossible to share all of my experiences here (plus studies show that people can no longer tolerate more than 8 seconds of anything) I guess the two main things I took away from the trip were: (1) the vastness of this world in size, population and culture and (2) Gratitude for being born in the U.S. where almost everyone has almost everything and we forget it every damn day. All it takes is one piece of political news, seems like.
So not having had a guitar in my hands for 10 days, two things happened to me. First, I got a rush of songwriting creativity coming from a creative blank slate — 2018 album, anyone?! Second, when I played at Sheldon’s Cafe last weekend, my fingers were burning by the end of my three hour set. Hopefully the next time will be less painful. I actually have two shows there coming up!
@ Sheldon’s Service Station Cafe
8401 La Mesa Blvd La Mesa, CA 91942
Sun, April 2, 11:30am – 3:00pm
Featuring Chad Marks on percussion
Sat, April 8, 4:30pm – 7:30pm
Featuring harmony vocals by Cadence Baron
More EZJ solo and full band shows are also in the works for late April and early May. Stay tuned!