Hometown: Thomas, Oklahoma
Lives: Weatherford, Okla.
Single: “17 Miles”
Album: Jared Deck
Influences: Alejandro Escovedo, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, The Beatles
Born in the small town of Custer County, Okla.—population 1,200—Jared Deck was always looking for an adventure. He found plenty of them as he worked a number of jobs, including on a farm, in the family’s grocery store, in the oilfields, in a factory, starting his own business and running for political office. Regardless of the job, music always seemed to be calling him. After fronting the cowpunk band Green Corn Revival from 2009–2015, Jared decided to pursue a solo career. With a sound reminiscent of Bob Seger, his self-titled debut album contains 11 self-penned songs, including the current single “17 Minutes.” Jared can next be seen playing AmericanaFest at Nashville’s 3rd and Lindsley on Sept. 22.
“That group [Green Corn Revival] lasted nearly six years and my writing style changed. I just started writing different types of songs. You get to this certain point where you’re like, ‘Man, this music thing hasn’t worked out’ and I never was full-time on it, but it never really went the way I thought it was going to go. Living in western Oklahoma, there was never that older, wiser person saying that this is what you need to do. We had no idea what we were doing. We were just trying to book shows and trying to record and do everything on our own. There were a lot of dues paid without very much benefit. A lot of mistakes made, a lot of failures and a lot of lessons learned. It really put me in a position where whenever I started writing differently and that project was fading out, that it put me in the position where I was like, ‘well, I’ve learned all these lessons and now maybe I can put them all to good use and start doing things on my own and take off on a solo career.’ I think it worked really well.”
“I’m an Americana songwriter because the idea of Americana encompasses original American music. Whether that ranges from country to gospel to rock and roll to folk music, jazz and blues—that’s an encompassing thing. I probably would say, especially with this record, Americana country is how I would, if I was going to stick a label on it, that’s what I’d call it.
“What’s real popular where I live is the Red Dirt and Texas County. I enjoy all of that too and I’m somewhat part of that scene, but I feel like what stands out about this record is that this record also has an R&B side to it as far as some of the grooves go. I like that. I like that it stands out a little bit. There’s a lot of our culture that values sameness. Everybody has the same type of phone. Everybody has the same type of this or that or everybody likes this. You live in this world and you think how do you stand out in a world that values sameness. The answer is, you just do what you do and just allow that to stand on its own two feet.”
“The stories on this record, these are stories that people, where I live, actually live every day including myself. I hope that people takeaway that honesty and I hope that people relate to it. As a writer, I think about all the songs that inspired me growing up—all the songs that touched me at that right moment and I think it’s a very lofty goal because you would love for your song to be that for someone else. It feels arrogant to say something like that. Like I said, I hope people takeaway that honesty because I hear the songs on the radio and they’re all about everything’s so great, life is so awesome. I’ve got money, I’ve got the best vehicle, I’ve got all these things and I’m like, ‘man, that is so awesome. Where do you live?’ I think that the reality is that we all fail at things. We all fail at little things daily and at big things in life. Part of this record for me—I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s about overcoming failure because I don’t feel like it’s that noble—I think it’s more about just dealing with failure, grinding it out.”
Art Imitates Life
“I live in Weatherford, Oklahoma which is 17 miles away from the town I grew up in. My dream growing up was that I was going to leave Oklahoma and never look back. I tried a couple of times actually and failed miserably. There was one time in particular where I was mad at the world. I’d had a falling out with a friend and I said ‘I’ve got to go. I’ve got to get out here. I packed up my car and I literally got 17 miles away.”
What he’s listening to – Jared’s Playlist
1. “North Dakota” – Lyle Lovett
2. “Don’t Try To Explain” – Keb Mo
3. “I Don’t Know How You’re Living” – Lucinda Williams
4. “If I Had a Horse” – Ryan Beaver
5. Jimmy Webb
It’s not a joke. It’s not just a catchy line. I can tell you the intersection. It was highway 54 and Davis Street. I literally had a flat tire. I did not have a spare because I wore my spare out 3 months prior and didn’t get a new one. No one was answering the phone so I had to call a tow. I had $300 on me and the tow was $120 and that was it. That was as far as I’d gotten. That’s where I live now.”
Finding a Hero
“When I was working at the factory, I had two friends. I worked back and forth between two departments. I had one friend in the lab and I had another friend on the manufacturing side. They were both telling me about this music, they both liked music. They knew each other, but they weren’t really close friends, which plays into this. One of them is telling me about this band called Rank and File from the early ’80s, this cow-punk band. He’s like, ‘This is where it’s at.’ He was an old punker from the late ’70s, early ’80s and he loved new wave. They’re both about 20-30 years older than me. This other friend—who’s more into folk music and Americana stuff— he says, ‘Oh man, I’m going to go see this guy Alejandro Escovedo. You should go see him with me.” Then everything comes full circle and I realize that Alejandro Escovedo was in Rank and File. I really got to know both sides of him all at the same time in a round about fashion. It’s like I was loving the Rank and File stuff and then I was loving the singer/songwriter stuff. Then it was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s in both bands. He’s the same guy.'”
“The thing is these small towns, whenever you’re young, you feel like they’re pushing you away but then when you’re older, you feel like they’re sucking you back in and pulling you back in. To get out of the hometown is an emotional thing for a lot of people. I’ve never left my home county. That’s just the fact of it. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be open to it, but at the same time it’s like—Now, it’s taken me a long time, but I’ve finally figured out a way to succeed from where I live and not have to move to Nashville or Austin or New York. At one point in time, I wondered and I almost regretted not having moved off 10 years ago to some big city—but I don’t think I would trade where I’m at now for any of that.”