The Music of America: Harmony-Driven Rock with a 70s sensibility
It was President’s Day. It was our first day in the studio. We had the songs, but we didn’t have a name. There were two of them, and two of us. – I like to think they would have been fans of our music.
This jovial statement from guitarist Jason Kloess certainly tells part of the story of The Roosevelts. Along with singer James Mason, the brothers in song – not blood, though maybe beards - have captured a sound that melds the musical history of America (Rock, Country, Blues, Folk). They’ve skimmed inspiration from each and created a sound that feels uniquely theirs and no one else’s. When forced to give it a name, the boys will tell you it’s “harmony driven American rock, with a 70s sensibility.”
“The Greatest Thing You’ll Ever Learn” – which came out Apr. 22 - reached #5 on iTunes Singer/Songwriter Charts; placing them among some of their earliest childhood heroes including Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King, and James Taylor (whom James was named after). Enlisting the help of producer Dwight Baker, from The Wind and The Wave, the Austin-bred, Nashville-based duo zeroed in on what some are calling a warm, rootsy pop sound.
“’The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.’ It’s the closing line from a song my grandmother used to sing to me as a child,” says Mason. - A line he’s likely to sing it to you while telling his story. - The song, titled “Nature Boy,” was made famous by American Jazz singer Nat King Cole in 1948. “The melody and words have stayed with me all these years and the sentiment within ties perfectly to the theme of this new record,” explains Mason when asked about the inspiration behind the album title.
"After seeing The Roosevelts perform in Austin I became a die-hard fan," shares BMI VP of Writer Publisher Relations Jody Williams. "I haven't heard any new music since then that hits all my buttons like The Roosevelts. The songs, the show, the attitude, the audience they draw, all of it."
But The Roosevelts almost never came to be. Mason was preparing for medical school and working through college as an ambulance medic, when a close friend convinced him to ride their bicycles 4000 miles across the continental US. A trip that ultimately delayed Mason’s med school plans and inspired him to move to Austin, Texas in pursuit of music. Meanwhile, Jason was developing a successful career in Austin’s tech start-up community.
Elements of their past lives are tangible within their music. "The hardest part of letting go of medicine for music, was the loss of the sensation that I was actually helping people," Mason says, "I may not be saving lives with music, but I’ve found that this platform allows me to connect with people on a deeply personal level, and that is healing!” “We hope our music will break your heart and make you shout for joy, all at the same time," says Kloess. With this compassion they’ve built a devoted fan base, one that Mason and Kloess often make sure to chat with on a first-name basis out in the crowd, or from the stage.
As former Eagles Scouts, and keeping with the presidential theme, the guys have created a signature beard-oil line inspired by the National Parks they love so dearly; after all Teddy Roosevelt developed the National Parks Service during his administration. The Roosevelts Beard Co. was created for the modern beardsman; those that sport a beard and take pride in their appearance. Each beard oil is made by hand in Nashville, TN and 10% of sales go back to the National Parks Foundation
“Nature is an incredible place; to unplug, to get away from the daily grind, and to reconnect with oneself. As Eagle Scouts, we spent a great deal of time hiking, canoeing, sailing, and sleeping under the stars. Each of our oils are named after some of our favorite places we’ve explored. We are proud to donate a portion of proceeds to the National Parks Foundation for continued conservation and protection of our nation’s treasured parks. We even put the topography of each park on the corresponding product labels,” explains Mason and Kloess. “In the beginning we were just making beard oil for ourselves, and recently decided we'd share our great smelling oils with the rest of the world.”
The Roosevelts are a live band if there ever was one. Their show provides a rousing dance-worthy compilation of songs, but also features poignant tunes that scale the depth of their ability to communicate that story with remarkable power. With the band's charismatic ability to connect with fans, along with a set of delightful songs, concert-goers can’t help but smile. Making The Roosevelts a band that music fans (of any genre) can’t afford to miss. Catch them in a city near you. For more information visit www.wearetheroosevelts.com and www.therooseveltsbeardco.com.