Local musician hopes first album hits listeners like a ‘ton of bricks’

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 18, 2000

Jayson Nix prefers to do things himself. The Natchez musician recently released his first album, &uot;Ton of Bricks,&uot; which he wrote, produced and marketed himself.

The 13-track album includes two songs with accompaniment from a local band. One of the two, titled &uot;The Law,&uot; was released as a single last year and sold 300 copies locally, Nix said.

And on six of the songs, Nix plays every instrument himself in addition to providing vocals.

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Nix has dreamed of releasing a CD since he first picked up a guitar at age 17. By age 19, he had formed a band, the first of about eight ensembles he has played with through the years.

Impatient of waiting to snag a recording deal, Nix decided to take his music career into his own hands – and his own home.

Nix ordered a complete digital recording system from a catalog, converted his former taxidermy shop into a studio and set about teaching himself to record his own music.

After nine months of recording with a band that yielded four songs, Nix decided the progress was &uot;too slow,&uot; and finished the rest of the album – playing all instruments himself – in only three months.

Nix said the album’s title is more than just the name of the title track, it is a message to listeners.

&uot;I felt like I was going to surprise some people with my music and hit them with a ton of bricks,&uot; he said.

Much of the music on his album reflects the influence of rock band Van Halen, but it also includes a mixture of blues and ballads, Nix said.

One ballad follows the experience of a man crossing over into the afterlife after a fatal car accident.

Nix said he considers his songs &uot;gifts&uot; from others, because many of the ideas behind his lyrics come from conversations with people he comes into contact with every day.

But recording the album was more than an expression of creative energy; the process taught Nix a few things about himself as a musician.

&uot;I’m really not a guitar player, but I was forced to be for this album,&uot; he said.

&uot;I always thought I’d have to be an unbelievable guitar player but it’s not like that,&uot; he said. &uot;As long as your heart’s in it, it comes across.&uot;

Nix manufactured 200 copies of the album for the release, which may be purchased at Sound Shop in Natchez Mall and The Mane Event on Homochitto Street. Two weeks after the release, he has already sold more than 100 copies.

He also plans to pitch the album to radio stations in neighboring cities, but believes his music does not fit into any of Natchez’s radio genres. Instead, Nix said he will take advantage of new technology offered by the Internet by uploading his music on to such sites as FarmClub.com so that anyone around the world can listen to his music.

Nix also uses the web to capture special sound effects to blend in with his music. Combined with the availability and relatively small size of recording equipment, Nix said technology holds great benefits for aspiring musicians.

&uot;It puts the industry in the artist’s hands,&uot; he said.