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Live Music Week happens bi-annually at WERS to raise money to keep our station running. We ask if you can pledge your support in order to keep us live on air, bringing you live performances from your favorite musicians. Pledges can be made here.
Massachusetts native Jay Psaros enters the studio comfortably and confidently for Live Music Week. Although he once thought playing on the beloved radio station was “out of reach,” he has played at WERS over five times throughout the course of his musical career. “At first all you think of is thousands of listeners and ears and you don’t want to make any mistakes – but you do it more and more and get comfortable with it,” he says. “A lot of things have changed since [I] first played on here. Back then I was lucky to be doing a gig or two a month, and now I’m playing full time, all the time.”
Psaros is a true performer at heart, taking inspiration from greats like Tom Petty, but also (and perhaps more so) from local musicians in Boston that he interacts with on a daily basis. He chronicles these local experiences and also those touring the country in his book-in-progress, What The Folk Are We Doing. He states that the book is “painfully close” to being finished and we can expect to see it on shelves in the next few months.
Psaros began his performance with an older, unreleased original, “Whiskey in the Rain.” The artist’s style is effortlessly effective, drawing listeners near with his understated and universally appealing sound. He lets his listeners breathe easy as his guitar gently sways.
Next, Psaros played the sweetly simple track, “Tipping and Turning,” from his 2011 album, On Up The Road. Clean and earnest, Psaros sings, “she’s flying for her wings she says, forgetting she has flown / chasing all the winds that come, hopes to catch her own.” Although he paints beautiful, rolling images with his words, he prefers using his guitar to express the feelings in his songs.
“I don’t consider myself a singer.. I know what real singers sound like,” Psaros admits. “I figured this out and knew I needed to find my own way – hooking people in quietly rather than pushing out.” With that in mind, he still writes his music as a story, but knows his melody will end up telling far more than his words will.
Psaros closed the in-studio performance by playing Bob Dylan’s classic “Don’t Think Twice, It’s alright.” He recently played the song at a scholarship benefit concert to honor the passing of a friend. Psaros recalls, “to hear everyone quiet down because of the nature of one guy and a guitar versus a whole band, and to know that I was there to play this song for my buddy who just lost his buddy, was really a cool thing.” Psaros paused, nodding, “I haven’t quite lost that feeling yet, so I guess that’s why I’m playing it today.” As he plays, it is obvious he knows the tune well and lets it hit him emotionally. He sings with a genuine yet subtle passion that cannot help but make you feel what he’s feeling too.
Although he did not play any songs from his most recently released EP, Simply, he values the six songs as some of the most well-produced and authentic samples of his work to date.