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Artist Spotlight: Jay Crawdads (Mobtown Music Guide)

Check out the full artist spotlight on our lead vocalist and MC, Jay Crawdads, at Mobtown Music Guide.

Name: Jason Crawford aka Jay Crawdads

Instrument: vocals, claps, snaps, raps, shakes and taps

Describe your sound: FUNK… steeped in soul, infused with a love of hip-hop, and tempered with an honest appreciation of R&B and Jazz. (then rub some dirt all up on that)

Bands you work with on a regular basis: Higher Hands (my main thang) & Naptown Producer/MC extraordinaire: Tobias Russell. (he and I have been working on an EP for a new project called High Bias)

Where people might know you: previous musical endeavors with Written Prisms, Pocket Protector, & Groove Killers. I’ve done features on albums with The Grilled Lincolns, Sweet Leda, the 8 Ohms Band & Slop (Spittin’ Lyrics On Point). I’ve also had the opportunity to sit-in & collaborate with a number of amazing touring acts when they make it thru Baltimore, such as the New Mastersounds, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Nigel Hall, Bonerama, & Rashaan Ahmad to name a few. You can also find me skeezin around for rap cameo opportunities at most dope local shows if I’m not already giggin. (Shout outs to Bumpin Uglies & Pressing Strings)

Biggest musical accomplishment(s): I’m really proud when I think about some of the bands that I’ve had the opportunity to support or open for, but I have to say that releasing Higher Hands’ newest album, Stay Sharp, to a sold-out crowd at The Whiskey in Annapolis was my biggest musical accomplishment. We had put a lot of our souls into the record, not to mention time & money. Knowing that I was releasing what I consider my best music to date, created with some of my best friends, in a packed room that was integral to my band’s growth, was an indescribable feeling. (SEE VIDEO: “Stakes Is High” from Stay Sharp Album Release)

Best gig ever: Opening for Cypress Hill at Ram’s Head Live back in ’06 w/ Written Prisms! It was pretty unbelievable to be hittin on the same stage as those cats.

Worst gig ever: I try to stay pretty positive about most gigs, and I am usual able to because I love performing so much, but HH played a MD wine festival a few years ago that was an audio nightmare. It was bad off the break when the soundman wanted us to hit without so much as a monitor or line check. He might have been havin a bad day or something. I ended up tryin to coach the monitor guy, one monitor at a time, between verses while keepin the tambourine goin. Then I’d jet back to the mic real quick. There was just no way to get the sound right. Needless to say we drank a lot of wine after that.

Was there a specific gig that changed your trajectory as a musician? My 1st couple gigs after just forming Higher Hands were huge to my progression. I had to really develop my voice as a singer, and not just an MC, in order to really hang with the cats I was playin with. I took on a lot of material initially that was outside of my comfort zone, but it really made me a better singer in the long run.

Favorite local place to play: In Baltimore, it’s the 8×10 without a doubt.
In Naptown… I loved playin at the Whiskey (RIP) and I give a lotta props to the owner Mike Hearne for everything he did for the Naptown scene.
My new favorite has gotta be the Metropolitan since we recently set-up shop there for our summer residency: Soul At The Met.

Song you never get tired of playing: “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. It’s such a strong, simple song that it never gets old. We’ve been playin it since I started Higher Hands, and we’ve probably flipped it in a ½ dozen different pockets. We still manage to keep it fresh. I give a ton of credit to my longtime bandmates, killer rhythm section, and good friends, Larry Byrne & Marty Bouchard for that.

Latest artist you heard that blew you away? Bilal blows me away every he time releases something new. Owusu & Hannibal stay on my playlists and are on some futuristic neo-soul shit. Lettuce is the funkiest band out there right now.

Favorite local CD: My man Tobias Russell is about to drop his new one: 6 Songs for My Friends. What I’ve heard is super dope. Jordan Sokel (of Pressing Strings) debut CD is real fresh too. It’s called Life of a Tree.

What’s up with the new residency? Soul At The Met is taking place every Tuesday night at the Metropolitan in Annapolis. My partner Mike Wilson (@soundbetter) and I conceived the idea as a way to create a weekly event that would be innovative and hip for the Naptown scene. We bring in a different featured artist every week, and Higher Hands backs that artist on a number of originals and covers. We collaborate and build on a ton of cool ideas there, and really dig into all forms of Soul music. The vibe has been amazing, the guests are always super talented, and the crowds are steadily increasing every week. We’ve had featured artists such as Kenny Wesley, Brooks Long, Adam Scott-Wakefield (Old Man Brown), Alison Carney, and Levi Stephens to mention a few. We really couldn’t ask for it to have turned out better. If it keeps goin the way it has, there’s a good chance you may see a special winter edition of Soul At The Met. For now, it’s Every Tuesday thru August @ 9pm at The Metropolitan. #makemoves