As a longtime member of the Magic City music scene, Jake Waitzman has spent the majority of his career behind a drum kit, pounding the skins for a family of local acts like Vulture Whale, The Wes McDonald Plan and Ham Bagby, laying down thick rock grooves while intentionally staying out of the spotlight. An engine and agent of propulsive forward motion, it’s been the place he’s most comfortable, yet for the past four years he’s been quietly plotting a new role for himself as an indie rock/power pop impresario under the nom de plume Jaco, exploring a radically different side of his creative vision that may surprise old school Vulture Whale fans.
Born out of a home recording project meant to document a veritable fountain of musical and lyrical ideas that had been floating around his personal sonic sphere dating back over a decade, Waitzman’s first full foray into the realm of solo artist is brimming with big guitars, giant hooks, and inventive song structures fleshed out over 11 tracks in a remarkable debut LP that recalls everyone from Elliott Smith and Teenage Fanclub, to Jellyfish and Big Star, but with a modern day rock and roll twist.
Featuring contributions on lead guitar and bass from Les Nuby (Verbena, Vulture Whale, Holiday Gunfire) and Greg Slamen (Through The Sparks, Cosmonaut On Vacation), the main thrust of the album’s songs are pure Jaco, taking the listener on a guided tour through stacked harmonies and memorable rock riffs with a psych-tinged underbelly, having helmed almost every aspect of the album as both co-producer and arranger, while simultaneously stepping to the forefront as lead singer, guitarist, keyboardist and drummer.
Released as part of Cornelius Chapel Records’ growing roster of great Southern musical acts like Beitthemeans, Bohannons, Will Stewart, Caleb Caudle and the mighty Dexateens, You Know stands as a singular summation of an alternate ego finally ready to introduce itself to the world. From the opening Cars-inflected synth intro to “On The Ground,” to the ELO/Elephant 6 backbeat boogie of “Blackboard,” the subdued melancholy of “I Don’t Mind,” or the guitar-driven rock and roll of songs like “Lavabo,” “Say Goodbye,” and “All Your Love,” there’s a world of sound to be discovered on this unique debut from one of Birmingham’s best and brightest new acts.
Buy the ticket, take the ride, and take a look at the mind inside of Jaco. - Lee Shook, 2019