Jaron Lowenstein Resurfaces With New Band the Cordovas
Jaron Lowenstein of Jaron and the Long Road to Love fame has once again stirred up a new musical journey. The 'Pray for You' singer has resurfaced with a new album titled 'Cordovas' -- the same name of his new band fronted along side of Joe Firstman and Jon Loyd -- which was released on September 13. Taste of Country recently visited with Lowenstein, and he gave us the story of the Cordovas, the future of Jaron and the Long Road to Love and his exciting "move forward" in music.
How did the idea to form Cordovas come about?
[Jaron and the Long Road to Love] had a single called 'That's Beautiful to Me' that came out last year, and it was pretty promising. It tested really well and everywhere it was played, everyone was really excited about it. It was going to be great, and I don't even know if it made the 40s. Everyone at the label was really surprised and frustrated. Nobody could figure it out ... maybe it couldn't compete. Then we came with a song that was championed called 'Beautiful Lies.' It happened out of the blue. It was so different and welcoming, and that one never even got noticed. So I was starting to realize ... I can keep trying that path, but really that's something I can't control. The outcome isn't based on the quality of the music. I can't control anything that happens there. It wasn't working and sometimes those situations seem frustrating, but they ultimately lead to something great in your life.
Around that time a buddy of mine named Joe Firstman showed up in Nashville. We just started playing music together and writing. We sort of sat down and aimed to study some music that he loved. We started to go through the deeper cuts of Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead and tried to figure out why this music is timeless ... why other music wasn't, but really figuring out why that sound was timeless, and why these great songs were still being listened to today. It was the first time I had really studied those catalogs. So we started playing them, and it was a different relationship to music for me. If one were to check out Joe's brilliant catalog, they would hear that the Cordovas is really a combination of what he's been building for a long time, and it's more of a departure for me.
Is that what eventually led you to doing your "Sunday Supper" shows?
We started playing with this new catalog of music, and as we started playing it, things started to evolve. We decided to do Sunday Supper, where we would just play together and invite our friends. Every Sunday we'd grab these great songs that we'd learned and get other people who like that kind of music -- who liked Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, the Allman Brothers, Merle Haggard -- just American music, and started playing it. The goal of playing those songs is afterward we'd start writing and see if we couldn't pull off writing songs like that. That's what we did. We started doing it, and Joe said he had a tour booked for the fall. He said, "Why don't you just headline the tour. I'll open, and you can even use my band." So I said to him, "Why don't we do a band name that signifies something more than just Jaron and Joe; have it be something that's a collaboration?" So we came up with this thing the Cordovas, and it just built from there.
You obviously were involved with the duo Evan and Jaron with your twin brother, and of course Jaron and the Long Road to Love. Where do the Cordovas fall into place with your musical taste and style?
I love the Evan and Jaron stuff, and I love the Jaron and the Long Road to Love record stuff, but I just started getting more into this different style of music. I don't know how to classify this genre of this new band. It's funny ... people have described it as museum rock, American music ... it's kind of like the band meets the Allman Brothers with Crosby, Stills and Nash harmonies, but it's got hip-hop grooves and gospel melodies and moments ... bluegrass ... lots of bluegrass. It's just all over the place. I don't know how to describe our music. It just feels good and is so powerful. I guess our ultimate goal with Cordovas music is to enjoy ourselves and have a good time onstage. If we do, then other people will.
I've always said, that if you can't describe something, that's where you find success. When you can't explain the feeling you get from music, that's when things become successful. You just have to experience it, and I think our music is an experience and unlike anything I've had before. The other bands and records I've had before have always been really song driven ... what's gonna be the next single, et cetera. This album has no consideration whatsoever for radio. It's an album you put on and play from beginning to end, from song to song to song.
Watch the Cordovas 'Old Dog' Video
How does it feel to be sharing the spotlight with two other talented singers after having a successful run as a one-man show with Jaron and the Long Road to Love?
I'm just so excited to be a guy in a band. I've done a duo and solo thing, and now there's three singers. It's just so enjoyable because I'm such a fan of the guys in the band, so sometimes my favorite parts in the show are just listening to them sing.
The album is currently available for free download through the band's website. Do you plan on selling the project as well?
We'll have physical albums for sale at our shows, and we have it on iTunes and Amazon, but we also have it available free as a download on TheCordovas.com. We want people to just enjoy the music. That's what we want to see happen ... and to come see us live!
You just started a new tour with the Cordovas. How has that been thus far?
This is not a "country tour" kind of tour. We're playing shows every day. We're on the road for 80 days straight. The way we go around doing things on this tour is not planned out. When you prepare a "[country] tour," it's four to six months out, at least ... everything is mapped out, you've got your publicist, your right arm, your left arm, your agent, and everything is lined up. We didn't have anything lined up right.
What can fans expect who come out to see the Cordovas in concert?
Either Joe comes out and does about 20 minutes, and then we come out and do a handful of Cordovas songs. Then we break and do a Jaron set where we do anywhere between six and eight or even nine Jaron songs, then we go back to Cordovas. So it's generally the fans get the songs they know by me and like by me, but we do it Cordovas style so it's a little bit of a surprise. It's fun. We do 'Pray for You,' but we do it in three-part harmony, so it's cool! With this tour -- whether there are 10 people there each night or 1,000 -- the fact that we got this thing up and running, and we're out there playing and just enjoying the hell out of it ... it's a big win.
What is the status of Jaron and the Long Road to Love?
I have a new Jaron record that's only available at our shows for now. It's basically 9 songs, including two cover songs -- a Grateful Dead song and an Elliott Smith song. Then the rest of the album is remixes of originals like 'Crazy for This Girl,' 'Pray for You' and 'Beautiful Lies.' There are some surprises, like the way we do the songs live, so the audience can get an idea of what the songs sound like live. Every single song on the album I play live. It's one take with mistakes and all. It's cool. It's very bluegrass.
Obviously with the success of coming off of Jaron and the Long Road to Love, you don't just pick up and say, "I've got another idea I'm just going to leave it." It's not easy to break through, and then once you do, if you pick up and say, "Yeah, I'm going to go do something else," clearly everyone on your team thinks you're crazy. But it's art, and as an artist I have to always chase what's most interesting and move forward with what's most exciting to me. Really I guess that's what visionaries do. You see something that other people around you don't, and hopefully in a year or two you end up looking like a real visionary or you end up looking crazy. So hopefully I'll look like I knew what I was doing.