After gaining a regional respect and fan base with his band Grayson throughout the 2000’s Jason found himself at a crossroads in the fall of 2012. He had a decision to make, to continue to fake his way through the cloudy, college rock haze or to move on to the future. When asked about the choice he says “it is a losing battle to fight fate” so the decision was clear and easy, although probably not the popular one at the time. It seems he is not usually a fan of the popular choice but believes that making the right one will always be worth it. Again when asked about it he vaguely responded, simply saying, “The truth will set you free, man” and clearly it has. In the first year after starting on his own with his new band he has already eclipsed any success Grayson earned in their 10 year career.
His first album “American Dream” recorded under the name” Jason Paulson and Friends” was the first step. While still playing with Grayson, Jason asked a group of friends to help him record some songs. While relying on the a group of friends to help produce the sound and pulling inspiration from the family that taught him his trade, Jason once again did not make the popular choice. Moving away from the pop sound that gave him success he simply put on the album what he wanted, with no thought of the repercussions or if he would even release it. Believing that his songs comprised of working men and women, life, love, hope and being hopeless were worth the effort, he finally released it in 2012. “American Dream” charted on the independent radio charts with “Lonesome Song”. Numerous positive reviews and a few awards later he was reaffirmed that he made the right decision.
He then believed it was time to put together a band and hit the road. Grabbing friends that helped him record “American Dream” and former members of “Grayson” he put together a group and called them “The Jason Paulson Band”. (When asked why he didn’t go with “Jason Paulson and Friends” for the band name he smiles and says “well, the guys just don’t like me much anymore”, then laughs the way you would expect a 200 pound bearded man to laugh.) Make no mistake “The Jason Paulson Band” are more than a backing band, with a rhythm section as solid as a brick house and a sound as honest as a dirt road! They are as much a driving force as Jason himself.
With a new band and a new batch of finely tuned songs, Jason and crew headed back into the studio to record “Daddy’s Eyes”. With good friend Mike Marston at the board, this band of bearded bandits proceeded to record their most popular album to date. “Daddy’s Eyes” is filled with the struggles of ordinary people managing to find their way through hopeless situations; the love of family and the baggage that can come with it; and the fight between right and wrong, good and evil, and the forgiveness that comes through it. With two songs charting on the Independent radio charts, videos reaching 100,000 +views and a sound all their own the acclaim keeps pouring in.
Riding on the success of "Daddy's Eyes" Jason and crew spent the next 2 years on the road, playing over 300 shows and opening or sharing the stage with a wide range of acts, including Keith Urban, Uncle Kracker, Joe Walsh, Corb Lund, Little Big Town, Josh Tompson, Gary Allen, Phil Vasaar, Gear Daddies, Daisy Dillman, Dustin Lynch, Guess Who and numerous others. While playing festivals and gigs from Minnesota to Nashvillle and back they were itching to get back in the studio to record again! So, in 2015 they took a short break to catch their breath and figure out what was next!
After their short break in the late winter of 2015 Jason and his road tested band entered the studio again. Although, this time with big ambitions. They came in with a double disc album in mind and 24 songs in hand. They set up in Summit house studios, with famed Minneapolis Producer Jason Swensen, "the feeling was right" says Paulson, and as they started to play, with the tape rolling, they laid down what would be the best collection of songs they have ever recorded (And according to some reviews, some of the best music to come out of the Twin Cities in years.). What they managed to capture was a live feeling that had been missing from there last two albums. The end result is "the Jason Paulson Band made history" as Kai would say. History Volume I & II contains 18 originals and 6 covers and is on the fast track to eclipsing the sales of their successful release "Daddy's Eyes" in the first month!
Now Three years into his solo career, I sit talking to an unusually humble musician who truly believes “the truth will set him free”. Who believes all his success is just “good luck” not the result of hard work, talent and right choices (Which I believe them to be). That all the awards and acclaim are great but what is really important is his family, his fans and the impact of his music. And as I sit on his front porch (the same front porch where his grandfather, father and uncle taught him to play and sing) and listen to him play his song “Blame”. He keeps repeating the words “If you only take what is given you only have yourself to blame”. Maybe that is autobiographical or maybe just coincidence, but this man who continually makes the unpopular choice and seems to come out on top seems to be telling the world that staying status quo is not an option, and we have not seen the best of him and his band.