- Bryon Harris
Jacob Ray - 'From the Start'
Hailing from the Houston music scene, Jacob Ray is a dynamic and gifted 20 year-old singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. As a prolific song-writer, Jacob has a large library of original songs that explore many diverse styles and influences. Some of his current influences include artists like John Mayer, Bon Iver and Matt Corby. His latest EP, ‘Edible Sound,’ is a self- produced project. The entire album, with the exception of some of the drum tracks, was recorded in Jacob’s bathroom. In addition, Jacob plays all the instrumentation. “From the Start” serves as a great introduction to Jacob's talent; it is a well-written, catchy song with a great track and fantastic vocals.
The intro of “From the Start” instantly draws you in. The song opens up with a steady 4/4 beat and a fun syncopated guitar riff that is filled in with longer notes played on whirling synth. A catchy and contemporary upbeat groove is established and held throughout. The production is crisp and the mix is well-done. Jacob’s vocals enter above the mix with a pure tenor tone that is smooth. Fans of indie-pop music will love his laid-back vocal style (similar to John Mayer) which is very easy to listen to. In addition, Jacob does well singing in his upper register which gives the song a nice pop vibe.
In the first verse, Jacob sings “Driving around, Trying to forget about all of my dreams that make me who I want to be. ‘Cause all that I’ve found, are dreams I’ve dreamt I’d dream of you. Like edible sound, I want the taste of you to say I do.” There is a genuine and personal quality to the lyrics. The themes of the song are universal: falling in love, thinking about the other person, figuring out how to approach them. In "Edible Sound," the melodic chorus stands out; it is very memorable. “Please say those things I know you want to hear. Forget about the boys who tried to call you dear. Deep down you know I’m the one who has your heart. I’ve had it. I’ve had it. I’ve had it from the start.” The last line of the the chorus, in particular, is very contagious as it sticks with you long after you’ve heard it. “From the Start” has verse-chorus format with each verse building up nicely into the chorus. After each chorus is presented, Jacob sings “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh” with nice musical phrasing. A unique instrumental bridge emerges after the second verse and chorus. In this bridge section, Jacob adds layers of percussion for a surprising rhythmic twist - this textured groove further emphasizes the song's great beat. The bridge section returns at the end for the outro/ending, keeping the energy upbeat to the very last note.
Currently, Jacob’s goal is to continue writing, recording, producing and performing while expanding his regional fan-base in Houston. With songs like “From the Start,” there is no doubt that Jacob can obtain this goal and more. "From the Start" has strong indie-pop melodic sensibilities with a fun and upbeat vibe, a contagious chorus, a good groove, and easy-to-relate-to lyrics delivered by smooth and stylish vocals. To learn more about Jacob Ray, please visit his website.