THE ORIGIN STORY OF JASON GOOD BLUES BAND AND THEIR FIRST ALBUM
As a teenager in Tucker County, Jason Good had to get to Chicago. He was a blues lover who played guitar, and Chicago is where Mississippi Delta blues met the electric guitar and fell in love. His parents weren’t just going to pay for him to live there and go to concerts, so he got a scholarship to attend Roosevelt University in the fall of 1997—a strategic choice just 10 minutes’ walk from blues great Buddy Guy’s club Legends.
Good arrived in Chicago eager to soak up the Delta soul. But there was one thing he hadn’t thought of—blues pretty much all happens in nightclubs, and he was under 21. “I wasn’t going there to drink,” he says, remembering his frustration. “I was going to play blues.”
Always resourceful, Good found a loophole: If a certain share of a club’s revenue came from food rather than alcohol, minors could enter. House of Blues downtown fit the bill. HOB had live blues every night, and Good became a favorite of the staff. “I would have like 10 Mountain Dews and they would charge me one time, and I’d tip them $1 because I had no money,” he says. He printed business cards on his dorm printer and handed them to every blues musician he heard. And finally, one invited him to sit in. Up-and-coming blues man Johnny Burgin brought young Good on stage at several clubs, even letting him solo—an incredible experience for a 19-year-old from Canaan Valley.
You may be wondering about now how college was going. Not well: Good got kicked out in his second semester. His father and a friend drove to Chicago to pick him up. They all went to HOB for dinner, of course. “At the door they were like, ‘$5 cover charge,’” he remembers. “And then they looked at me and said, ‘Oh wait, are you guys with Jason? Go on in.’ My dad thought it was pretty cool that I had a little VIP status in the blues world.” After dinner, Good played on stage with Burgin at Smoke Daddy’s BBQ on the West Side. It was a memorable last evening.
TALK FIRST, THINK LATER
Back in West Virginia, Good settled down in Morgantown. He studied photography and theater. As financial realities bore down, he set the guitar aside and started a videography business. He met his wife in 2007, they had a son, they got married, and he grew his business.
But eventually, he got itchy fingers. He restrung his guitars and started tinkering again. And in August 2013, he went to hear a reunion gig of his dad’s friends’ old band, The Late Harvest Band, at Mountain State Brewing Company in Thomas. “We were talking after, and I said, ‘Could my band open for your reunion concert next year?’” Wait—what? Good didn’t have a band. He hadn’t ever been a front man or sung on stage at all. “I thought, ‘What did I just do?’”
He practiced and practiced. Then he called all of the active musicians he knew and found a few who would rehearse with him for a one-time gig six months out, and they pulled it off in August 2014—so well that Mountain State called to ask them back, for pay. “It was just going to be one-and-done, so that was kind of mind-blowing for me,” Good says. The band members talked and, with a switch to a new bass player, the accidental, one-gig group became a real, intentional band.
HE ALBUM THAT ALMOST WASN’T
Jason Good Blues Band had been together just a year when Good proposed a trip to Chicago. He wanted to record an album, primarily at his own expense. They laid their first tracks in the fall of 2015 at Paragon Studios, the city’s oldest continuously operating sound studio. But then disaster: The building Paragon operated out of was suddenly sold, and the studio had just weeks to vacate. While hastily packing everything off to storage, the JGBB tracks were mislaid. It was a couple years into the massive process of liquidating its assets that the studio finally unearthed the tracks and mailed them to Good.
The band recorded the remaining tracks at Riot City Studios in Westover in 2017 and, after teaching himself to mix in order to keep expenses down and get it all done—“when I had money I didn’t have time, and when I had time to work on it I didn’t have any money coming in”—Good and the band finally released their album, six years in the making, in June 2021.
Blues You Can Use showcases the JGBB members who played together for six years—Justin Bricker on bass, J.L. Hosberry on drums, Drew Jones on keyboard and saxophone, and Good on guitar and vocals—playing six original songs and seven blues classics. Two tracks feature Burgin, now a solid member of the Chicago blues establishment, on guitar as a special guest. Burgin’s harmonica player, Martin Lang, appears on a couple tracks, too, as does Good’s Uncle Pete on bass and drums. Their music is the soulful blues we all can use.
Bass player Bricker moved to D.C. during the pandemic, and Good says the band membership is fluid these days. But he’s undeterred. “I already have about a dozen songs that I want to record for the next CD,” he says. Find Blues You Can Use on your favorite streaming service, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to buy the CD. And follow the band on Facebook to know when they’re playing next at Gene’s Beer Garden or Mundy’s in Morgantown.