Described as a Neo-Soul-Funk band from Durango, Colorado, J-Calvin has released their first full length album, Heart Glow. A soul-abducting fusion of authentic lyrics, jazz-influenced harmonies, and Dilla-Inspired beats, Heart Glow is a unique compilation of the varied musical backgrounds of the conglomerate of musicians that make up J-Calvin.
On New Year’s Eve of 2017, bass player Jesse Ogle gathered a group of friends and musicians for what would ultimately be the debut of J-Calvin. Although named after Ogle, the band is comprised of four other key members: Sarah Pumpian, Will Metz, Sam Kelly, and Ted Moore, all of whom dedicate their time alongside Ogle as music educators at the Durango non-profit, iAM Music. Their debut album is a true introduction to the band, sharing the story of their formation and journey. “The album was mostly inspired from me wanting to stay true to myself following my heart and continuing on my journey within my soul to be the best musician, friend, band mate, and mentor in music that I could be. It was also about a group of friends from different parts of the Southwest getting together to create something special, share a moment in time, and connect on a deeper musical level than before” says Ogle.
Recorded in only three days at Wave Lab Studios in Tucson, Heart Glow is a short eight-track album about healing, envisioning the future, and what it means to trust in yourself. The story begins with the single “Dare I Say”, a jazz-influenced song about letting go of relationships and mending the past. Co-written by Jesse Ogle and Sarah Pumpian, the lyrics paint the picture of moving on with eloquent lines such as “turning page after page, it’s okay” present in its easy-listening chorus. Similarly, the song “Take Me Away” was penned by Ogle about the emotions and heartbreak behind not wanting to end a relationship. “ It’s about me wanting to spend my life with my former bandmate and girlfriend Ashley Edwards of Hello Dollface. We had a tragic breakup and I just wanted to leave all of our problems to go and be with her” says Ogle.
J-Calvin expands to other relationships beyond the romantic nature, exploring the connection to the solar system, Earth, and the people that inhabit it with their single “Heart Glow”. Other songs explore the relationship with self, such as “See Far” and “This Will Grow”, both about envisioning the future, affirming that you must believe in yourself, and continuing to constantly trust your soul path of evolution. Ogle explains how the album took on a unique combination of inspirations, drawing from both a soul-searching, heart-mending place and the relaxed state of improvising and creating music with friends. “Songs like “I Won’t Let You Go” are about me not letting my music die within me and the journey of finding it constantly, while the song “Waiting For Sarah” was literally a studio jam we improvised on the spot in one take while waiting for Sarah to come back in the studio after a short break” says Ogle. “The alum that recorded on the album feature some of Tucson’s and Phoenix’s finest musicians…. So it’s just as much about friends connecting on a musical level to create and share something special as it is about my own soul-searching musical journey.”
As an album, Heart Glow makes its mark on the Colorado music scene as a memorable debut for Durango-based J-Calvin. Complete with what can only be described as a contemporary fusion of soulful-eclectic R&B, J-Calvin presents a small slice of the down-tempo grooves and conscious lyrics that are quickly becoming the group’s defining factor. Having previously brought their high-energy show to stages like that of Telluride Jazzfest and Bohemian Nights, you can catch J-Calvin during their return to Fort Collins at The Magic Rat on March 15th.
Photos courtesy of J-Calvin