Former Centre County country radio staple Jaysen “Swampy” Gold has just released his first EP.
With his debut EP, Gold aims to teleport listeners with him on his emotional journey.
“You’ll start off feeling like you’re soaking in the sun and sniffing the cool saltwater on the beach,” the singer-songwriter said. “Then a little later, you’ll be transported to Memphis and cry a little bit. Then you’ll travel to the beginning of a relationship and the butterflies inside your stomach will be rejuvenated. A little later you’ll feel like you’re surrounded by the smell of freshly lit Marlboros while a dude makes a bad decision at a bar, then you’ll feel a little redemption while you get to fix up a new car in your dad’s garage.”
Gold, a Tyrone native who now lives in Nashville, called his five-song EP “About Time” for multiple reasons.
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“I wanted to take you on a journey to different places that you might spend your time, like I mentioned,” he said. “I also called it ‘About Time’ because I’ve wanted to release an album in Nashville ever since I was a kid. Finally, in 2016, Jesus said. ‘it’s about time.’ ”
Before moving to Nashville to pursue his musical dreams in 2012, Gold worked as a radio DJ in Happy Valley, donning the moniker “Swampy” on Big Froggy 101. He said he has nothing but great memories of working at the station.
“Boss Frog really pushed me and supported me there. I learned how a radio station works, so I know what radio stations look for in songs before they add them, I know how they set up promotions, and what is attractive to them as it relates to artist relations,” Gold said. “I use everything I learned at Big Froggy 101 daily in doing business pushing this EP and booking shows.”
I use everything I learned at Big Froggy 101 daily in doing business.
Gold said he learned a lot from Big Froggy 101 listeners, too.
“The fans are awesome, but they also shared with me what they did and did not like about the music we played for them, so I use that often in my songwriting,” he said. “I loved playing songs and talking about them, sharing my afternoons with the Big Froggy 101 listeners, but I always wanted to be on the other side. I feel very thankful that I now have the chance to be the one being played.”
While country is obviously his main influence, Gold also pulls inspiration from “beachy” music.
“Sonically, I would say it sounds like Toby Keith meets mid ’80s Alabama with a little bit of Kenny Chesney ‘beachyness’ sprinkled in there,” Gold said. “Lyrically I really look up to songwriters like Matraca Berg, who wrote a lot of mid ’90s country stuff ... I really like a lot of the stuff on the Heart albums from the late ’80s, so I’ve been trying to match that lately. There’s also a really great band down here called Amber’s Drive, I wrote with the lead singer last week, Daniel Mason Swartz. His lyrics are amazingly creative and intricate, so he’s teaching me a lot. I hope to put a couple of our co-written songs on the next EP.”
In addition to his affinity for music, Gold’s religious faith is instrumental in his song crafting.
“(It plays) a huge part,” he said. “For some people, this album may be the only thing they ever know about Jaysen Gold, so I want them to take away that I’m a Christian who makes mistakes, but knows I’m forgiven and strive to better. The song ‘Better At That’ really gets that across well, I think. I’m so thankful that Jesus has allowed me to get down here, record some music, write with great writers, and play these songs all over the place. It’s humbling. I feel like I need to give thanks to him any chance I can.”
Gold’s love of music, like most musicians, started very young.
“I think I found music inside my mother’s womb,” joked Gold. “Alabama was always playing in the house. I can remember the first song that I ever sang in the house to memory was ‘Roll On.’ I used to play the cassette on the big entertainment center in our living room. That same year, in 1989, I saw Alabama on a special Myrtle Beach Edition of TNN’s Nashville Now promoting their Southern Star album. I was glued to the TV, and I instantly knew that I wanted to do everything that Randy Owen (Alabama’s lead singer) was doing. So I’ve really been chasing this dream ever since.”
In addition to crafting songs for the new EP, Gold has been playing out more and more and said the shows have been going well.
“People really like the song ‘Lost At Sea’ — I’ve had a good half dozen people request to buy the song. I’m selling a little bit of merchandise now too, and its been selling pretty good, too,” Gold said. “Really for me selling product is important, but I really just want to make a connection with my audience. I like to talk with them afterward, get a picture with them for my social media, learn who they are and what they like.”
When he’s not writing songs or rocking stages, Gold spends his days educating the youth of America. In Nashville, he works as a sixth-grade English teacher.
“It fits really well with my songwriting, I use what I teach in the classroom in my life, so I can make a lot of connections with my students that way,” he said. “Sixth graders are also very blunt, so I debut songs often times to them to get honest feedback. They for sure give it to me.”
Gold hopes his former listeners check out his new endeavor.
These songs came from my heart and are little snapshots of my life here in Music City.
“If you were a fan of my work at Big Froggy 101 and wanted to learn more about the man behind ‘Swampy,’ this is the perfect way to do that,” Gold said. “These songs came from my heart and are little snapshots of my life here in Music City. ‘About Time’ will hopefully allow you to escape bill paying and whatever else you’re going through and just take you an a journey. You’ll hopefully laugh at a couple of the songs, and hopefully your heart will be warmed up listening to a couple of the others.”
You can learn more about Gold at www.facebook.com/jaysengold music, @JaysenGold on Twitter, or you can catch him on Bandsintown.