Jason Bible needs no introduction. The Train Wrecks front man is at a peaceful stage in his life these days. Here, he talks about venues and friends he’s lost, his hopeful outlook for a Savannah music scene recovery, his upcoming Thanksgiving release, Anatta, and much more.
These days I’m writing whatever feels right
What are some of your earliest musical memories?
I remember singing in church and one day hearing “Elvira” by the The Oak Ridge boys. That was the first 45 I recall listening to over and over.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I would say Hank Williams and Bob Dylan. Tom Petty and John Prine as well. The list could be pages really!
You’re one of the most well-respected artists in Savannah, looking back on your career thus far, what are some things you are most proud of?
I’m really proud of the band albums, opening for BB King and Jerry Jeff Walker, and the traveling we have put in over the years.
I’ve never been more proud of an album
Talk a bit about the differences in writing a Train Wrecks song vs. a Jason Bible song …
These days I’m writing whatever feels right. If the band likes it, then we record it. Sometimes I think it’s a solo song, and it ends up being a band tune. It’s hard to tell until you add drums and bass.
Anicca was an extremely personal album for you, do you consider the forthcoming Anatta an extension of Anicca, or a separate entity entirely?
William and I started this book right after Anicca came out. It did really well, so we just started working via emails on the concept and chapters. It is a personal batch of tunes but it revolves around the characters in the book. I’ve never been more proud of an album. Kyle Shiver was a big help on these tunes.
It is a strong follow up to Anicca, which had a lot of strings and piano. This one is an Americana/rock album. Many of the songs are guitar driven. I’ve been writing songs with Dave Williams for close to twenty years now. The songs are some of the best stuff yet.
The Jinx was such a special place for the Savannah music scene. What does the Jinx mean to you, and your thoughts on its closing?
I loved that venue and had many great nights there. It is sad to see it close. Playing in Dallas for many years I saw a lot of venues come and go. We will hopefully open a similar place downtown. It might be hard to open a place as fun as The Jinx.
There is an entire album worth of stuff left over from this new album
What was life like for you during quarantine, and how have you coped the past five months during the pandemic?
I’ll be honest with you. This whole thing has been tough and very challenging. I have become as self sufficient as possible at home. We have a good garden now! My grandfather had an amazing garden. I think he has been with me in some way to help.
I have enjoyed the family time and we have been swimming in the ocean a lot. There is something so healing about swimming. I’ve been able to stay busy in the studio and playing private house shows and a few outdoor venues. It’s hard to believe how fast this year has gone by. Most of my days and nights have started and ended with work on these new songs.
I really dug in in April to get this one done. There is an entire album worth of stuff left over from this new album. We wrote some songs that just didn’t make the cut. They are really solid songs that I’m going to release at some point. It’s therapy really! I love writing and recording songs.
Are there any Savannah artists you have not worked with yet, but would love to collaborate with?
Eric “Big E” Moore played bass on a song. Maggie Evans also played bass and sang on a track. Kyle Shiver lives really close so that collaboration worked well for the lead guitar parts. He co-wrote several songs with us and really helped mixing. Anna Chandler did all her vocals from her home studio in South Carolina. Sean McNally is doing an awesome video for Anatta and Jeremiah Stuard did an amazing job on a video for chapter 7, “Things You Remember,” which is really impressive. Jeremy Riddle did the audio book. He read it perfectly. The team that we have put together for this one is unstoppable in my humble opinion.
I’m doing a record with Patrick Bunger and a few other songwriters. I’d like to write some songs with Dustin Price. His last record was great. Savannah has some great talent.
Till then, I can’t stop writing, recording and performing. It’s all I know
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Savannah music scene?
We are in a state of uncertainty as to which venues will survive. Most places are just doing solo shows on the weekends right now. I hope that will change in 2021. We are a tight music community and always support each other. I’m dedicating this project to Daniel S. Robertson who passed away recently. He will be missed. He opened Live Wire Music Hall and always really supported us. I’m so glad I got to visit him with my family in June. We played music and went out on the boat. He would be proud of these songs. We wouldn’t be a band without Dano. We played his memorial show at Red Gate farms last Saturday. It was the first time the band has played live since January 28.
The festivals and theater shows won’t be coming back for a while but I’m trying to thrive in whatever capacity I can. I was asked to play virtually for some retirement homes recently and I love playing Hank Williams, Elvis and Buddy Holly songs so I’m doing some shows like that. I think the music can heal people more than the papers these days.
What can we expect in the future from both yourself and/or the Train Wrecks?
I’m going to keep playing and putting out the best records I can. We are starting the third book now. We initially envisioned these records and books to be different stories revolving around the opioid epidemic in Georgia and framed under the three marks of existence Anicca, Anatta, and Dukkha. So, the third book/record Dukkha will conclude this project.
The Train Wrecks are working on our fifth album. Thirty years ago I started down this path. All my focus and energy has been on music, booking shows, recording and traveling. I know music will come back to full capacity. This country has been through a lot and when the venues open back up I have feeling there will be some sold out shows happening. Till then, I can’t stop writing, recording and performing. It’s all I know.