Singer-songwriter Jed Crisologo has a debut album, River, now out, and will be performing on April 13 at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center with fellow musicians The Hipocrats and Jerett Samples. Crisologo will be sharing some new arrangements of songs with Josh Hamilton and Jonathan Shue, two of his Sun Killers bandmates.
Crisologo is thrilled about the entire evening. “I’m lucky enough to be friends with Tyler and Sarah from the Hipocrats and have played a show or two with Jarrett,” Crisologo said. “I know a few of us have been dreaming about playing the Abbey and I can’t wait to see what the other bands have in store.”
He is also enthused about the venue. “The Abbey offers such an amazing environment that I really wanted to explore some stripped down, string band versions of our tunes,” he said.
Crisologo’s music is described as drawing upon Americana, punk rock, and soul influences. “I group up listening to punk rock, hip hop and R&B and my earliest musical experiences were being in punk bands with my friends as a teen,” he remembered. “Even though my journey as a songwriter has me wanting to sound more like Sam Cook than Black Flag, the ethic and energy of those songs are still all over how I hear and write music, and it’s still hard for me to end a song without yelling some of the lyrics.”
Authenticity is what draws Crisologo most strongly. “I love a song when I believe what the songwriter is saying, and by that I don’t mean that I need their song to be factual,” he explained. “I think we can tell when a work of art has a piece of humanity in it, that’s the thing we relate to as human beings.”
And now, the time is right, Crisologo feels, to also share River more widely. “River has been a long time coming,” he said. “One of the earliest songs on the record was written when I moved to Seattle and some of the other songs were written after we had already started recording the album.”
Three core songs make up the backbone of the album: “Working Hard,” “Ledgers and Lists,” and the title track “River.” “I wrote the songs on the album during a period of time where I was really working on my relationship with identity and that conversation with myself is what makes up the heart of the record,” he relayed. “These songs are some of the most direct I’ve ever written and I feel like they are the most ‘me’ songs I’ve ever written.”
Promoting River has been a challenge. “Honestly, the album came out in a bit of a whirlwind and I haven’t done as good of a job promoting it as I should,” he admitted. “That part of the job hasn’t always been interesting to me, but I’m so proud of River and I can’t wait for more folks to hear it.”
He hopes this is the next step toward success in his journey as a musician. “It’s kind of a weird thing to write songs about your feelings and expect that people will want to listen to them, but as artists that’s the whole bag,” he said. “When you start paying your rent with the art you make, it becomes an even trickier exercise.”
But Crisologo is rising to the challenge. “It’s been really interesting getting to know the side of me that is good at the non-artistic parts of being a working musician,” he said. “At a certain point, it’s like any other job really and the trick has been learning how to separate the vulnerable process of making art from everything else you need to be good at in order to pay the bills.”
Jed Crisologo performs on April 13 at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center, 4272 Fremont Avenue North, Seattle.