Home Grown

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

The Homemade Jamz Blues Band’s music has always been a handmade, homegrown effort, but these days, the band’s pushing that even further.
Tupelo’s Homemade Jamz, made up of 18-year-old Ryan, 16-year-old Kyle and 12-year-old Taya Perry, is celebrating the release of its third album in as many years, “The Game.” With their drums and homemade guitars, the trio is rocking a new style of the blues they discovered right here in Tupelo.

So much about “The Game” is new, but so much of it is still classic Homemade Jamz.
The Perrys recorded their first two records in their living room and released them on NorthernBlues Records. For this third record, though, they dropped their label and took off to Clarksdale to record.
“On the first two records, we weren’t too crazy about the sound quality,” Ryan said. “We went indie with this one, and we got a studio-quality album.”
The Perrys’ dad, Renaud, still handles much of the songwriting, but he let Ryan loose on the production end. Ryan produced “The Game,” with Taya and Kyle’s help, at Gary Vincent’s Sound Stage studio in Clarksdale.
Ryan said he and his siblings have grown musically – so much so they actually re-recorded some songs for “The Game” because they wanted to use what they’d learned on the road.
“We recorded the whole album in March, and planned to release it in August,” Ryan said. “Then we went back in in August and we improved on the songs.”
Renaud said he was proud of the progress the band has made.
“Everybody’s learning so fast. Four to six months can make a big difference,” he said.
Going independent means more work, from the creation of the album to the promotion of it, but the band is all about it.
“It’s the best one we’ve done yet,” Ryan said.

Hills are alive …
Homemade Jamz has always performed a mix of blues styles, like Chicago, Texas and Delta, but “The Game” marks the band’s first attempts at North Mississippi Hill Country Blues.
“Earlier this year, we were driving to Birmingham to fly to London, and we had (the radio) on a blues station, and Junior Kimbrough came on,” Ryan said. “I just snapped up. We were jamming. That was our first taste of Hill Country Blues.”
Homemade Jamz then began collecting records by hill country artists like Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside and Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm and studied them, and added the driving rhythm of the genre into their own sound.
“Tupelo’s in the middle of the Hill Country, and we have our own style,” Ryan said.
The band is about to take this new style on the road.
2011 will see Homemade Jamz Blues Band touring overseas, including Belgium and France.
Recording a fourth album isn’t on the table just yet, but it is in the works.
“We have all the music for CD No. 4,” Ryan said, “and most of it is hill country blues.”

Click here for review of Homemade Jamz album at Sheena Barnett’s blog Scene Now.

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