Pay Me No Mind

Title: Pay Me No Mind

Artist: Homemade Jamz Blues Band

Label: Northern Blues

Catalog No.: NBM0048

Date:  2008

The first thing anyone will mention about this band is the age of its members.  The Homemade Jamz Blues Band are kids, literally. Guitar player and lead vocalist Ryan is 16, bass player Kyle is 14, and the drummer Taya is 10.  They are also siblings.  So what we’ve got here is an astonishing amount of talent for their age, with the added novelty that they’re all family. The band began when Ryan, age 9, picked up his fathers’ worn Stratocaster knock-off that he’d gotten in Korea while serving in the military. Under the tutelage and guidance of their parents, the three siblings have broken into a tradition that is usually reserved for musicians twice their age. A discussion of the instruments was also featured in a recent NPR interview.

Recorded in their hometown, Tupelo, Miss., Pay Me No Mind is an energetic debut of fresh and up and coming talent. All songs were written by their father, Renaud Perry, except for the last track, a fired up version of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom.” Renaud also makes an appearance on four songs, blowing a very “proud papa” harmonica. The album is reminiscent of sixties electric blues with bright tones from the leads, a strong walking bass, and a simple back beat keeping time. Sixteen-year-old Ryan’s voice has a rich and full quality that cuts and growls and will only blossom as he gets older.

One of the most interesting things about Homemade Jamz is their instruments.  Ryan plays what appears to be a muffler, welded and wired into an electric guitar, while Kyle plays “Thunder,” a six string bass that has been fashioned out of what looks like a Ford muffler. Both instruments were handmade by Renaud, and speak to a “homemade aesthetic” that connects the band to a greater blues tradition. Renaud cites that he had intended to re-build a car with his son but when the muffler came in, he took one look at thought it was just the right size for a guitar. He was even more satisfied with the sound it produced.

The Perry family band has been hard at work with a grueling tour schedule of festivals and club dates that have landed them third place at the 3rd Annual MS Delta Blues Society of Indianola’s Blues Challenge in 2006, second place at the 2007 International Blues Challenge, and they were recently voted Best New Artist of the year at the 2008 West Coast Blues Hall of Fame. More than just a gimmick, these kids have talent, and with nods of encouragement from the likes of legendary bluesman B.B. King, this passing of the torch ensures that a new generation will carry on in the blues tradition.

Posted by Thomas Grant Richardson and Heather O’Sullivan