Full Throttle Rock
Article By: Curt “Dudley” Miller
Originally Published In The March 2013 Issue Of Source Magazine
So you’re the real deal, right? You’ve been to all of the biggest rallies: Sturgis, Daytona, Laconia, maybe even the Lone Star, and have the patches, tats, and road scars to prove it. Okay, I’m game. But have you really experienced these events? ‘Cause I’m here to tell you, my friend, that if you’ve somehow managed to make all of these rallies but have never seen Jasmine Cain live, then sadly, there’s a big part of the show you’ve missed. The hell you say? Yep, it’s like that. Now don’t get me wrong, not for one minute would I even think to take S anything away from motorcycle rallies and the mammoth celebrations they are of all things biker. No, it’s just the opposite. From the moment Jasmine plugs in until she finally stage dives from a stack of humming amplifiers into a crowd of fans who are just begging for more, this supercharged live show flat out delivers.
Jasmine is a powerhouse vocalist with great range to boot. Along with fronting the band, she also plays bass, more than handling her share of the group’s rhythm section. Filling out the rest of the lineup are Mickey Bradam on guitar, David Michael Thomas on guitar/keyboard, and Zach Ballard on drums/percussion. Without question the band works well together. As well, the group’s instrumentation and the varied musical backgrounds of its members make their sound fresh and diverse. Combine Jasmine’s gifted song writing ability with the whole band’s ethos of continuous improvement, and no surprise, the end result is absolutely excellent original material. Jasmine Cain’s four studio albums are so well crafted that you’ll never find yourself track-skipping or making playlists. Rather, these are albums that you’ll play start to finish then select the “repeat all” option for all day listening. Regardless of which album you choose, and I recommend all four, the material never gets boring. There’s just too much variety on each release for listeners to feel like they’ve heard the same song twice, as can tend to happen when artists limit themselves to one musical genre or even one style within a genre. Much of the diversity in Jasmine’s sound likely comes from the band’s live show where they amassed quite an incredible catalog of cover songs. Taking the time and effort to master other musician’s material to the level they’ve demanded of themselves, Jasmine and her band have honed a sound all their own, including nu metal, bluesy hard rock, country and just about everything else in between. All the while, nothing they do ever sounds the least bit manufactured or forced.
Jasmine, having grown up in South Dakota not far from Sturgis, was raised on a cattle ranch where she explains that there wasn’t all that much to do, especially during the long, bitter cold winters. So, from the time she was four years of age she made good use of those winter months indoors by taking up various instruments including: guitar, piano, bass, and drums. More recently she’s added to that list by learning to play the ukulele and mandolin, as well. By the time she’d turned eight, she was already singing in her older brother’s band and playing gigs. For this young lady from South Dakota, there seemed to be only one option that would do, and that was a fulltime, full-on music career. In her words, “I tossed my high school graduation cap in the air and went straight to work in music.”
While her sights were set on Nashville, where she now resides, she did make a brief stop along the way performing for a bluegrass music show. Although that show was certainly not her ideal gig, she did take one very important life lesson away from the experience: “Always work for oneself,” Jasmine explains. And with wisdom far beyond her years, especially for a young artist just out on her own, Jasmine developed a philosophy that certainly resonated with this old dog. She went on to say that that experience taught her “that when you put yourself in the position of being at someone else’s disposal, they will always treat you like you’re just that–disposable.” What more could I possibly add to that? Once in Nashville, she wasted little time getting her career started. Within just a few years she was rocking the cover band circuit and writing material. In 2004, she released her debut album, The Inside, an unabashed, raucous, here-I-am-world record, making her presence known in the music scene with no plans of leaving anytime soon. Her sophomore effort, Locks & Keys, released in 2008, followed with a much darker, moodier sound, but offers plenty of great tunes to dig on.
In 2011 and 2012, Jasmine released back-to-back records entitled, Highway Prophet and Modern Day Gypsy, respectively. Abandoning the moodiness for a much more upbeat sound, Jasmine sees Highway Prophet as her “road trip release; the album to put in when you want to just be lighthearted and have some fun.” This is definitely a feel-good record with songs ranging from good old fashioned rock and roll, to punkinspired power-pop, to deeply soulful ballads. The title track, along with Jasmine Cain’s terrific cover of Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen,” is worth this album’s price of admission alone. With her latest release, Modern Day Gypsy, Jasmine Cain has cut the reins and let loose on her own and the individual talents of her whole band. Like so many musicians playing in your favorite groups, the members of Jasmine Cain’s band are not onetrick ponies. David Michael Thomas happens to be a classically trained pianist, violist and cellist, while Mickey Bradam is a gifted instructor and performer of Spanish-style Flamenco guitar.
On Modern Day Gypsy, Jasmine delivers an acoustic lineup of material with fantastic rhythms and tonalities that will not only give you a whole new appreciation for the talents of this ensemble, but will take you on a musical journey around the world, then right back home again. With some all new songs, some readaptations of her older material, and closing out with a kickin’ cover of Janis Joplin’s “Bobby McGee,” this too is an album you can play all the way through without skipping a track.
So, you’re probably thinking I must be part of this band’s marketing department, right? Yeah, well, not really. To be perfectly honest, as much as folks can be into anything, that’s how much I’m into music, and I’m a damn tough critic. Jasmine Cain and her band have just impressed me that much. And it’s not just me. Jasmine Cain has been awarded eight JPF music awards, an award given to artists, by artists. She and her band are also currently nominated for seven Music City Mayhem Awards including: Female Rock Vocals, Rock Bassist, Keyboards (David Michael Thomas), Album Artwork (Modern Day Gypsy), Rock Song (“Nightingale”), Music Video (“Highway Prophet”), and Live Show. Without question, the votes are in, and Jasmine Cain is getting people’s attention. This band has a sound all their own and an energy that permeates their studio recordings as well as their live performances. You owe it to yourself to check out Jasmine Cain’s material, and if ever you have the opportunity, make a point of seeing her and her band perform live. You will not be disappointed! www. jasminecain.com