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A modern-day Renaissance Man, Jeb Loy Nichols is a musician, songwriter, and visual artist whose creative path has taken him from his birthplace in the Midwest to a remote farm in rural Wales where he grows much of his own food, generates his own power, and recycles almost everything he uses.
Not surprisingly, PARISH BAR was also home-grown; worked in between Nichols' other projects and creatively linked to a series of woodcuts he was making, called Ghost Yard, which was based on the Bronx park where Afrika Bambaataa founded Zulu Nation, hosting parties to draw kids out of gangs through creativity and bringing about the age of hip-hop. "Like the music, the parties were grass roots affairs," says Nichols, "a collection of sounds and influences that said 'what you see is what you get!' That's what I wanted to say with Parish Bar. This is who I was and who I am! No big deal - just relax and have a good time."
The theme of Parish Bar is captured in the autobiographical first track, "Countrymusicdisco45" and the sudden emergence of a country record playing through the disco. The musical juxtaposition reminded Nichols of a late night in a local parish bar in Jamaica spent listening to a dub session. "Finally," Nichols recalls, "as the sun was coming up, they put on some country tracks. At the end of the day, it's all roots music. So I've included some covers, some jazz, some country, some soul - all the stuff that matters. It's an in-between-time record - this is what it sounds like at my house".
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