Hailing from Ontario, Canada, the Jay Kipps Band have crafted something new and different - their brand of insurgent country draws heavily on diverse inspirations ranging from classic Americana and surf music to murder ballads and spaghetti western soundtracks. On their debut album, How To Polish Your Longhorns, the Jay Kipps Band have absorbed these influences and blended it into something unique with their estimable instrumental skills, refusing to play it safe.
The band’s been making music together since 2015 and is comprised of Jay Kipps (lead vocals, harmonica, guitar), Chad Burford (lead guitar), Cory Bruyea (drums), and Chris Lubker (bass, backup vocals). Kipps himself comes from a storied artistic family; he is the son of Toronto based artist's Paul Kipps and Colette Whitten who's sculptures can be found at major intersections in almost every city in Canada.
Raised in a small, prospector gold rush town in the Yukon, as a young boy Kipps found himself lost in the sounds of his fathers record collection - Harry Nilsson, Sonny Boy Williamson, Duane Eddy, J.J. Cale, The Ventures, Neil Young, The Band and The Grateful Dead.
“My dad’s best friend was Stan Rogers,” recalls Kipps. “When I was a kid, in the summertime we would go to Ronnie Hawkins place and be in this circle of incredible musicians. That vibe definitely had an influence on me.”
How To Polish Your Longhorns is grounded in authenticity and the songs speak of home, loss, love, and life. Layers of organic music and vocals develop an experience that never feels rushed or overdone.
“I never got turned onto music of my own time - I’m heavily influenced by the sound of the ‘60s and the ‘70s,” says Kipps. “Those are the sounds that appeal to me. Really pared down. We captured that on our album - limited use of pedals, vintage amps, getting honest live off the floor sounds. Limited layering. The whole album was recorded in only three days.”
In the song “Everyone But Me”, you’ll hear the melancholy aching of a man without someone to turn to.
“I tried to dig deeper on that song,” mused Kipps. “I was motivated by the relationship between me and my dad. He was incredibly generous with his students, he was a father figure at his university but he was never that father to me. This song, I feel, is a conversation I was having with his ghost. I think anyone who has ever been forgotten, left behind or picked last can relate to it."
The heartfelt acoustic strum and cello on “The Only Reason” is instantly affecting.
“I wrote it for my wife, it was a gift to her as an apology for not pulling my weight in our relationship. I put it on the record without asking her which was an oversight and then I needed to ask for her forgiveness again,” says Kipps. “The whole thing has been a really contentious moment in my relationship with her for sure. She sings it with me now so it has become a real highlight of the show. An audience favourite. A true Johnny Cash and June Carter moment.”
A singer, songwriter and powerful harmonica player, Jay Kipps has had the opportunity to share stages and campfires with the likes of Bill Poss, Jeff Healey, The Northern Pikes, Ginger St. James, CATL, The Vaudevillian, Charlie Roth, Gordie Tentrees, Carolyn Mark, Paul Reddick, Jerome Godboo, Alfie Smith, Sean Pinchin, Connor Gains, Bad Luck Women & Her Misfortunes and many more.
“Their debut is impressively crafted for a band that’s only been in the game since 2015; blending the soulfulness of the blues and the technique of Roots and Americana...a breath of fresh air in modern music.” - Canadian Beats
“A roots Americana record which has the energetic atmosphere of a saloon bar at times, and a starlit front porch setting at others. Harmonicas and blues-style guitars twang, decorating the fabric of this record matched with the soothing vocal tones of leading member Jay Kipps.” - Jamsphere
“From the passionately played harmonica to the jagged guitar riffs, everything feels truly lived in. The Jay Kipps Band sculpts a catchy world, one that lingers in the mind.” - Skope Mag