Wasting the Day With a Few Good Friends of Mine: Jamie Stever

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Photo courtesy of Jamie Stever and Trimount Rocks

“When it comes to my music career, I don’t know when to stop. I don’t know when I’ve made it or if I haven’t made it. I just know I’m having fun doing it.” ~Jamie Stever

Keith Urban walks into a boardroom one day, and Jamie Stever is sitting at the table. Internal dialogue: Be cool man, just be cool, do NOT ask to take a selfie with Keith Urban…it’s Keith Urban, do not ask to take a selfie…  Instead he simply says, “Hey man.”

The urge to let down his guard and become “fan boy” is strong, in Nashville a guy can’t help it. He is surrounded by incredible and iconic musicians. But Jamie Stever knows the business, he has been down to the Music City often enough that he knows what it takes to get noticed. Asking to take a selfie with all of the chart-toppers in town is not the way to get noticed.

But Jamie has been noticed in Nashville. Five years ago, Jamie made a bold move and quit his full time job to pursue music as a full time career. He had been a musician all of his life. He reminisced about his days in childhood when he would grab the Sears Wishbook Catalogue every Christmas and flip straight to the pages with all of the guitars.  At fourteen years old he looked forward to getting into trouble so he could go to his bedroom, close the door and play his guitar for hours. In high school he was the guitar player at parties. His inspiration was taken mainly from Much Music and watching all of the rock stars with their legion of girls and their endless dollar bills. He says he can’t ever picture his life without music, it is such an integral part of him.

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Sitting with Jamie in Miss. Lily’s and talking about growing up in the County, chasing his music dreams in Nashville, and never taking time for granted.
Country music wasn’t always his first love and his sound has evolved over the years since he had been a teenager playing rock music. He attended Cambrian College in Sudbury where he studied classical guitar, but it was working on a construction site where he was first introduced to a world of country music. He was very interested in becoming a song writer so when he would listen to country radio at work the words he was hearing and what he was feeling in these songs was something that really grabbed him. He found himself thinking, “Man, I’m gonna really dedicate some time to this.”  On his website he is quoted as saying,  “{he went} from Mozart to Merle [sic]”. And his sultry smooth voice is perfectly suited for the sound he has cultivated. He earned high praise in 2012 for his oft played radio single Sweet, Sweet Summertime, and his song No One’ s Stronger Than a Mother was a powerful song that he wrote in support of M.A.D.D. “because he believes in the power of drinking and driving prevention“.

But now he is recording songs in the music capital of the world, Nashville, TN at Legends Studio where iconic musicians have recorded their legendary songs. People like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson all sang in the room that Jamie now gets to sing in while modern-day artists like Martina McBride record in their own studios just around the corner. He has come a long way from his County roots, but no matter how far he travels he is still a County-boy.

Jamie and his three siblings were all County raised, “it was crazy having four kids in the family but you know what, we grew up well, we grew up here. [sic]” There was a considerable age gap between Jamie and his older brother so it was the three youngest who would hang out with shared friends, and of course there were their cousins and everyone was friends of friends and everyone sort of knew everyone. And their family is incredibly close.  He says with a grin, “You always knew when the Stever kids were in the room because we can’t stop laughing.” But tragedy visited the Stever family in early 2008 when his cousin, who had been living and teaching english over in Taiwan, was struck in a head-on-collision and he subsequently passed away. It was that sad moment that stopped the Stever laughter for a time as they reflected on the sad loss of one of their own. That singular defining moment reminded Jamie that life was precious. His cousin had been living overseas and pursuing his passion and “we only have so much time”. He knew that he wanted to live life without regret and he believes strongly that a person should go and do the things they want to do. “You never think that something like this is going to happen to your family.” It is this moment that defines his life now.

 

jamie-steverAnd so far he has no regrets, only wild adventures and fantastic stories. He says he is in the heat of things right now with his career. He has just released his newest single and the end of November he will be leaving for a 100 radio station tour in order to promote it. He is writing with different band members of artists like Brad Paisley and Tim McGraw and the goal is to get his songs sold. But he also notes that the music industry has changed so rapidly in recent years that in order to make a living he needs to be on the road doing live performances.  It’s the live performances he says, that have been the wildest part. He recalls an on-the-road story where he and his band were playing at Cook County Saloon in Edmonton, AB. The bar seats about 800 but the place was packed to beyond capacity. He mentions how his parents were in the audience that night.  A couple of girls from the crowd got up on stage and began dancing right next to the bass player, who stood stock-still while shooting Jamie a helpless glance. Jamie mouthed over to him to “just go with it”, and what happened next Jamie wouldn’t elaborate on. He let out a tiny chuckle at the memory of it though.

But he has also had some incredible opportunities only afforded to the lucky few. He was fortunate just recently to play at the Capitol Theatre in Lebanon on WSM 650 The Grand Ole Opry radio station. It was a dream location to play. His ultimate stop would be to play on the Opry stage and that goal is within reach. Val Storey, whom he just recorded a duet with had recently played at The Grand Ole Opry so Jamie figures he just has to wait his turn. And then he describes this old place down in what he refers to as ‘The Gulch’, a trendy part of Nashville with condos and little shops and restaurants, but in the middle of this area is an old train station. It’s an old beat up building called the Station Inn but here is where some amazing country history was made. It is internationally known as the “Bluegrass and Roots Music’s premiere listening room” where famous country artists are known to be either on stage or in the audience. And the boy from Prince Edward County is just mesmerized by the fact that he gets to play on such historic stages.

He doesn’t pretend that what he is doing is easy, but he does insist that anyone could do it if they really wanted it. He also knows this life isn’t for everyone but his advice to anyone would be to pursue what makes you happy.  He has put in the time, the effort, the practice, and the sacrifice and it has taken him places he had only dreamed of before. And he absolutely loves what he is doing. “When it comes to my music career, I don’t know when to stop. I don’t know when I’ve made it or if I haven’t made it. I just know I’m having fun doing it.” And he is doing a beautiful job. His is a voice that the County can be proud to call “our own”.

Be sure to follow Jamie on his Facebook page. While on his radio tour he will be posting Facebook Live videos and pictures from a variety of cities and he says it will be a fun way to follow along on his adventures. His new single and EP, “This Life Ain’t For Everyone” is currently available for download on iTunes. 


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