C&I talks with Jason Morton of the up-and-coming country group Jason Morton and the Chesapeake Sons about their self-titled debut album, available now.
From the rock ’n’ roll album opener “Ride All Night” to the power ballad closer “No Time,” Jason Morton and the Chesapeake Sons take listeners on an exciting Southern-rock ride on their self-titled debut album. Filled with diverse musical genres and instruments — including violins, pianos, and organs — and grunge-inspired vocals, the record includes standout songs like the recent single “Southern Sound,” a gospel, country, rock hybrid that’s an ideal candidate for blasting with the windows rolled down on a road trip.
The whole album rocks with an honest old-school energy that’s sure to appeal to fans of country music, Southern rock, and more.
Recently, C&I caught up with frontman Jason Morton to talk about the debut album, the band’s recording process, and his favorite things about their home base of Nashville.
Cowboys & Indians: What do you hope fans will get out of your debut album?
Jason Morton: Above all, I hope they get the honesty that pours out of this record. This is the by far the best representation of who I truly am as an artist. Our producer, Will Edwards, did a great job capturing the raw energy of our live show and really made it come through on the recordings.
C&I: What are some memorable stories along the way of getting your debut album from concept to actual release?
Morton: The most memorable stories were mostly the ones in the studio. We would stop at nothing to get the particular sound we wanted. I remember recording an earlier song, and we had an organ sample on the recording. We didn't have an actual organ at the time, so we were using the Pro Tools sample for the time being. Not gonna lie — it actually sounded pretty good, and we thought to ourselves, Man, we could keep this and nobody would know. But, we couldn’t let that happen. How wrong would it be to do everything in our power to be as true to the old school recordings as possible and then have a computer playing the organ part?
At that moment, the recording process stopped, and we ordered a 1971 Hammond B3. The best part was when the organ got delivered by tractor-trailer and it wouldn’t fit up the driveway. So we had to get out in the street, transfer the organ to our pickup truck; then Will [Edwards] and I had to carry it up the stairs to get it into the studio. Just to put it into perspective, just the console alone weighed over 300 pounds. Not fun. But, we got our authentic organ sound.
C&I: What was the writing and recording process like? Where did you draw inspiration from for the sound?
Morton: When it came to the writing and recording process, there were no rules. Almost every song was written in the studio with our producer. The dude is an absolute genius and the same question would come up in every song: How can we make this different? It wasn’t about being polished or perfect. It was about capturing the raw energy at the time. When writing, we always composed the song in a way that would sound the best live.
C&I: Do you have a favorite song or track you’re most proud of?
Morton: I would say the track I’m most proud of is “Southern Sound.” This was the first song written for the record, and it became the standard that every song had to live up to. We asked ourselves, “If we only had one song to show people the best representation of who we are, what would it be?” That was our approach when starting this song. We said, “OK, all bets are off on this. Let’s do anything we want. Who cares about song length, how many guitar solos, etc.” The song ended up being over seven minutes long. It may never become a single, but, it’s quickly becoming a crowd favorite at our live shows, and we are extremely proud of what we accomplished on this recording.
C&I: You all have shared the stage with legends such as ZZ Top, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Church, and Shooter Jennings. What were those experiences like, and how have they shaped you as artists?
Morton: Those experiences were absolutely incredible. You go through a lot of ups and downs as an artist. Some shows are way better than others. So, when you share the stage with one of your heroes, it’s a nice reminder of just how lucky we are to be able to do this for a living. It also really makes you step your game up as an artist. Being on that stage in front of 15,000 people is confirmation that if they were able to get to this point in their career, then I can, too.
C&I: Who are some of the singers and songwriters that have inspired your creative development and made you want to become an artist?
Morton: In terms of singers, I’ve always been drawn to dynamic rock singers that really belt with soul. I always respected Robert Plant and Chris Cornell a lot. The whole ’90s grunge scene is what really sparked my interest as a kid when I first started playing guitar. I became obsessed with Nirvana and would sit in my room for hours and play along to their records. When it comes to songwriting, I just absolutely love Tom Petty. His lyrics are so transparent and universal. You don’t have to read deep into them to get it. They’re real and extremely relatable. This is what makes his music so timeless, and this is also why we’ll still be talking about Tom Petty 30 years from now.
C&I: Are there any songs that didn’t make it onto the album that we can expect later on down the road?
Morton: There were a few songs recorded that we were really excited about at first, but for whatever reason we just weren’t feeling them as the recording process moved forward. I think it was a combination of things. Our writing kept getting better, and the earlier recordings got replaced with something better. But, there also are a few songs that we plan on revisiting in the future with a completely different approach to recording.
C&I: What can we expect in terms of touring?
Morton: Our main focus right now is visiting the new markets that are currently playing our single on the radio. We love returning to old markets, though. It’s a necessity to long-term growth in our fan base.
C&I: Lastly, as a band based in Music City, what are some of your favorite places in Nashville?
Morton: I love hanging out on the lawn at Centennial Park in the spring. It’s such a feel-good vibe that time of year. I’ve sat out there on a blanket in the grass for hours and played guitar. It’s a good place to clear your head and think.
Jason Morton and the Chesapeake Sons’ album is available to order here.
For more information on the band, visit their website.