Joe Ulrich / WITF
Joe Ulrich / WITF
A meeting at a park in Hershey between two musicians led to a collaboration that’s spawned a band and an album. From blues to folk to rock, The Jayplayers write and perform a blend of music that’s propelled them to gigs around the mid-atlantic region.
“The way it started was she had a notebook of lyrics and I had a bunch of memos recorded of guitar parts, and we just kind of put the pieces together,” says the band’s guitarist and singer Chris Weidensaul. He and singer Keeley McCue lead the band.
McCue and Weidensaul met in 2013 in Hershey and found they had a lot in common musically.
And so they decided to team up.
“We became fast friends,” says McCue. “We were both doing music independently. He had just put out his solo album, I had mine out for a while now, and we were like ‘Well, if we’re both doing it independently, let’s try jamming and maybe we’ll play an open mic together.’ And it went so well so we were like ‘Ok let’s play actual shows. This is gonna be a thing.'”
“[The band name] took us a long time to come up with,” McCue continues, “because at first it was just ‘Chris and Keeley’.” They found that they often included references to flight and soaring in their lyrics, so they tried to come up with something related to that. “So we were thinking bluejay and the letter J came up a lot in our respective lives and places we first started playing…I’m an actor as well and I was like ‘Let’s play on the word ‘dayplayer’ which is…a for-hire talent and that’s kind of how this whole thing started rolling…So we just made up our own word, ‘Jayplayers’.”
A couple years later, they added some new players.
“For the past two years Keeley and I had just been playing with one guitar and two voices,” says Weidensaul. “I suggested ‘What if we try to get some other musicians in here?’ So we got my friend Tyler Kollinok who I went to college with. He’s the percussionist. And Michael Broda who’s been my longtime friend since elementary school. He plays bass for us. And as soon as those guys joined everything just clicked. And that’s actually how we recorded the album. We did all live tracking for all the tracks. And it really gets the feel of the live performance.”