Jason Null of Saving Abel
By Rachelle Nones  wordsmith3@prodigy.net
Band Photo by Jim McGuire  

After spending almost a year writing and recording, Saving Abel is back on the radar. The grungy Southern rock band with the pure as Mississippi mud persona is promoting the release of its third album - an eclectic musical stew with a hooky title track underdog anthem - “Bringing Down The Giant.”

At the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, leg of the band’s tour, Saving Abel’s co-founder Jason Null, had just completed an early evening jog before calling in to report, “things couldn’t be better” at eOne Music, the record label Saving Abel had jumped to after departing from Virgin earlier this year.

I asked Null to rewind back to his earlier years growing up in a rural Bible Belt community in Mississippi. Where did he find the inspiration to become Jason Null, musician?

“Oprah Winfry was born in Mississippi. Jimmy Buffett and B.B. King were from Mississippi. I took that to heart as a kid and thought that if these people could get out of these small towns and go somewhere there’s no reason I can’t.”

Null always felt as if he was living right in the middle of the music industry.

“I had a forty minute drive to Tupelo where Elvis was born. I had an hour drive to Memphis, a three-hour drive to Nashville and then it was two hours to Huntsville, Alabama, from there. It was always second nature for me to put the basketball down and pick up the guitar and that’s what I always wanted to do.”

Null recalled childhood holiday family gatherings where there would be seven or eight guitars, a banjo, mandolins, fiddles and someone playing a harmonica.

“That was their computer. Things have changed a lot. I have a son who is eleven years old and he’s shown no interest in music, but he can take a computer apart and put it back together. I’m thankful I grew up in what was a dying age when it came to that type of stuff.”

Fast forward to the present.

I mentioned that the new album was less sexually charged and much more experimental than usual, “Do you think 'Bringing Down The Giant' will attract a different type of fan?”

“I’m hoping that it reaches different people. There is a song on there that is kind of sexual. At the same time, and some people can call us hypocrites, we have one song called 'Parachute' that is as Christian contemporary rock as you can get. We have a bluegrass song on there that was cut with a banjo, mandolin, jaw harp, and I actually blew into a jug like you see on Andy Griffith’s 'Darlings' show. You are going to hear a lot of different things on this record.”

“What is it like to cowrite with Jared Weeks?”

“He may bring me something that is almost done and we can just go into a room and sit down with a couple of guitars and start strumming and humming things until someone says, ‘Hey, play that again.’ It can happen a number of ways. Speaking for Jared, also, our favorite way to write is just to sit down with a blank canvas and just have some time to kill and see what we come up with.”

“Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?”

“The best advice I could give anyone is to always remember it’s a business. You need management; you need an attorney and you’re going to have to have a little money to get the business off its feet. The labels today want the whole package because development deals really don’t exist. The days of being in a club in the middle of nowhere and someone stumbling in by chance and offering you a contract — those things don’t happen anymore.”

I hit the sweet spot when I asked Null if there was a favorite food stopover when the band toured. Null said he enjoyed the seafood at a certain Chicago restaurant but preferred his mother’s Southern cooking to anything he could find at food stops on the road. He spoke about corn bread and fried green tomatoes and mentioned that he was getting hungry. Null asked if I’d ever eaten fried hog’s jowl and gushed about how easy it is to find any kind of food “double or triple-fried in the South,” as the interview drew to an end.

Give a listen to Saving Abel’s latest release at:

http://www.savingabel.com/

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