When Jay Bragg released the first volume of his album Find Me In a Song, the rising country singer explored loss, heartbreak and spiritual awakening with songs like “Deliver My Soul,” “After Tonight It’s Over” and “I Don’t Hear From Her Anymore.”
In more ways than one, Find Me in a Song is the product of survival stemming from Bragg’s persistence in an oversaturated city of dreamers who continue to tread water in the wake of COVID-19. Bragg, a third-generation professional musician, is a lifer and full-heartedly dedicated to a music career with longevity. With the halt of the touring industry and live music on standby, releasing a collection of material in a series is not only to withstand the times, but to bring Bragg’s fans a much needed dose of joy and comfort throughout the remainder of this year.
With volume two dropping tomorrow, Bragg says the latest collection will go deeper into the stories and people behind these themes, and CS Country has your first listen to one of the songs titled “Angel Eyes.”
Written by Bragg, “Angel Eyes” is an uptempo, harmonica-driven country tune that’s bound to get your foot tapping from the second it starts. Although backed by a lighthearted beat, “Angel Eyes” has some pretty heavy lyrics about someone who wasn’t who they claimed to be in Jay’s life, and the singer opens up to CS Country about the pain he endured to write the song.
“‘Angel Eyes is a blistering critique of someone who isn’t what they claim to be. It’s a story of deceit and betrayal and it took going through a lot of pain to write that song,” Bragg says. “I went through a painful breakup and decided to book some time out in a little guest house on a farm about 30 miles outside of Nashville. I basically had my personal journal, my guitar and a pad of paper. I literally was paging through my journal about my feelings surrounding the breakup and writing lyrics on the pad.”
Jay sits down (virtually) with Celeb Secrets Country to discuss “Angel Eyes,” what he hopes listeners take away from Find Me In A Song, and the meaning behind releasing his album in three phases. Read more in our full Q&A below and let us know what you think of “Angel Eyes” by either leaving a reaction at the bottom of the post or by sending us a tweet at @celebsecrets.
You can connect with Jay on Instagram by giving him a follow at @jaybragg_music.
CS Country: You’ve been releasing your new music in phases. The first was in August, and the second is coming real soon, with the third to follow later this year. Can you talk to us about why you wanted to release Find Me In a Song in three phases?
Jay Bragg: “I believe it is where music audiences are at these days – I think consuming smaller bits of music more consistently just fits better into a time when everyone’s attention is being demanded by a million different things at the same time. I think your average music fan will easily listen to 3 new songs of an artist they like every month or so, but 10 all at once can be too much of a commitment.”
CSC: Aside from different songs, what makes phase two different from the others?
JB: “There are a few themes that are undercurrents to this record – loss, heartbreak and spiritual awakening. Volume 1 introduced these themes. Volume 2 goes deeper into the stories and people behind these themes.”
CSC: We’re premiering the single “Angel Eyes.” Can you tell us about that song specifically and what it means to you?
JB: “I went through a painful breakup and decided to book some time out in a little guest house on a farm about 30 miles outside of Nashville. I basically had my personal journal, my guitar and a pad of paper. I literally was paging through my journal about my feelings surrounding the breakup and writing lyrics on the pad. Angel Eyes is a blistering critique of someone who isn’t what they claim to be. It’s a story of deceit and betrayal and it took going through a lot of pain to write that song.”
CSC: What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
JB: “I always hope my music inspires listeners to get real about their feelings, about the pain and joys of life – to allow themselves to wear their heart on their sleeve, to have the courage to sing the blues but dance away the hurt.”
CSC: Who are some artists that you look up to/inspire your music?
JB: “Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Amy Winehouse, Foy Vance, Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan, Ed Sheeran, Aretha Franklin.”
CSC: What can you tease about Find Me In a Song part 3?
JB: “Volume 3 includes the title track which for me is the most personally meaningful song I’ve ever written. It’s a song I hope people will remember me by long after I’m gone.”
CSC: How was the process for you in terms of making all this music? Was any of it recorded during quarantine?
JB: “Fortunately all of it was recorded before quarantine hit. Find Me in a Song is a culmination of about 2-3 years of writing. I went into the making of the record with 35 songs that I whittled down to the 10 that drove the story I was looking to get across the best. I wanted to make a record that somehow took the honky tonk troubadour to a place of spiritual redemption and deliverance and that’s exactly what this record achieves for me.”
CSC: Do you have any favorite memories/special moments from making it?
JB: “I knew I wanted to have a gospel choir on 3 of the songs and my co-producer found a gospel vocal group that we hired. I remember when they first sang the choir part on Sweet Gift of Music (which will be released on Volume 3) I had tears in my eyes. I grew up with gospel music all around me and to have that influence on music that I composed was such a powerful moment. It was tapping into something far deeper and greater than the songs or my own life. It was channeling the transcendental.”
CSC: Since we’re Celeb Secrets Country, what’s a behind-the-scenes secret from making your three-part project that we wouldn’t know when we listen to it?
JB: “Both my mom and dad appear on this record – which is the first time I got to do that. Both of them contributed to Sweet Gift of Music – my dad’s voice is in the choir and my mom’s voice ends the track by saying, ‘that’s my boy’ which is so fitting for her because she’s always been so proud of me, my music and my life of following my dreams.”