Under The Radar – Jamie Talbert Share
“Under The Radar” is a regular feature on the Texas Music Scene where our official blogger, singer/songwriter/journalist Mike Ethan Messick, shines the spotlight on a deserving but lesser-known artist. Some of these subjects are just getting started and might be tomorrow’s headliner (or Texas Music Scene star); some are music veterans who’ve earned admirers around the state and around the world while taking the road less traveled. All of them well worth a look & listen, enjoy.
If you make it to a Jamie Talbert show a little early, you might mistake the burly, black-bearded East Texas native for one of the bouncers instead of the guy who’s about to get onstage and lead the audience through a journey of song that’s just as often sentimental, light-hearted and optimistic as it is rough & ready (despite being frequently billed as Jamie Talbert & The Band of Demons). A musical mainstay around his native Beaumont as well as a frequent traveler to the Houston and Hill Country areas, he’s been in the game long enough to be an influence on local folks like the Slow Rollin’ Lows and Blue Broussard. On a personal level, he’s a joy to know and a pleasure to hear … so here’s a chance to get to know Talbert a bit, after which we’d recommend hunting down his album and keeping an eye out for what he’s doing next.
In your own words, describe your sound.
A little old school country with an edgier southern rock feel. We have our
own sound. Easier to describe if you have seen us live.
Where are you based out of?
What are some of your favorite and/or most frequently played venues?
Okee Dokee’s in Beaumont, The Firehouse Saloon in Houston, Billy’s Icehouse
in New Braunfels and Lugnutz in Nacogdoches.
Name a couple of career highlights, so far.
I opened for Don Williams once and I have always been a fan. Just to share
the stage with such a legend was a pleasure. It happened very early on in
my career so I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I was having a
blast doing it. My favorite memory of playing happened here in the last
couple of years when my son, Trey gets the chance to sing on stage with me.
He started doing it before he was 3 and has been doing it ever since. Since
the majority of the shows we play are in bars we don’t have a lot of
opportunity to get him up, so when we do, we have a blast. [Author’s note: Trey sings a mean harmony on Talbert’s cover of the Turnpike Troubadours’ “7 & 7”]
What music do you have out already, and what’s coming in the near future?
I released the album The Opening Act in 2006 and have two new albums that
will be out later this year. Tomorrow Night will be the name of the full
length full band album and Jamie And Tim’s Impromptu Acoustic Snafu will
be the full length acoustic album.
If someone’s only gonna buy one song of yours … where to start?
“Tequila & Tracy” from the original album and “Tomorrow Night” from the new one.
Name some of your main influences as a songwriter/musician.
I love stories that are real. I also love songs that can be left up to your
own interpretation. Otis Redding, Phil Pritchett, James Taylor, Led
Zeppelin, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Steve Earle have all had a profound
influence on the way I approach writing and performing.
Who have you played more song swaps or co-bill with that anyone else?
We have done quite a lot with Blue Broussard Band, Phil Pritchett and Jason
Boland throughout my career. I really enjoy the song swaps with friends and getting back to “Music In The Raw”.
If a fan’s buying you a drink … what’ll it be?
Crown & Coke, or Jaegermeister.
Name a couple of people you’d like to publicly thank for helping you in your
My wife, Jamie Lynn, without her support I couldn’t do it. I’ve been very
blessed to have been supported by people like Cara and Daniel Miller from
radiofreetexas.org. They gave me a chance to get my music out to the public
when no one else would. I have met quite a few incredible people along the
way that have given me chances to open for them or offered advice such as
Phil Pritchett, Jordan Powell, Alex Weeden, Jason Boland, Cody Oxley and
What’s one of the strangest gigs you’ve ever played?
This was not only the strangest gig it was one that landed me in the dog house for a while. I was asked to do a show in 2007 in May and on a Sunday. I agreed to the date without thinking about it and signed the contract. My bonehead didn’t realize it was Mother’s Day (in fact the very first Mother’s Day for my wife as my son was only two months old). At the time I didn’t have protective clauses in my contract and I tried to back out of the deal and had my feet held to the fire. Needless to say my name was more than MUD on that day. We show up to a big barren field and there was a great big flatbed trailer with a generator on it. It was an afternoon show
scheduled to go til 10:00 that night. We get there and there must be 500 people (all of whom are rather intoxicated). At first, I was like great, this is my kind of crowd … people wanting to party and have a good time. The first hour and a half of the gig were great. About a half hour before it gets dark, the father of the guy who hired us decides he wants to get up and say a few things on the microphone. I thought that it was going to be a toast or something. No, actually he started cussing and using massive amounts of racial slurs to whip the crowd up into a frenzy. I felt like I was at Klu Klux Klan membership drive. Very awkward. When we finally got him off the mic, no easy feat, we decided to finish this set and call it a night. We are about done with the set right at dark and we are in the middle of our last song of the set when a brawl breaks out. It was a free for all. Someone ran up to the generator and turned it off, blowing the fuses in our equipment. We started packing up and said the hell with this. I looked up and some dude was beating his girlfriend up. I was making my way over there when two guys jumped on him and broke it up. We went and found they guy who was supposed to pay us and he asked if we could take a check and I said “No”. We got the cash and got the heck out of there. They wanted to know if we were going to play for them on Mother’s Day the following year. We said we’d pass. My wife and band mates still rag me about that gig and to this day I have made sure to never ever book anything except time with the family on Mother’s Day!!!
RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE: Cory Morrow, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, Brison Bursey, Owen Temple