A pianist with a soulful touch and singer with incredible range and passion, Jay Jolley has risen from the endless ranks of the regionally-successful to an up-and-coming contender on the national Country scene. His current single, "God Save Us All From Religion," is compelling and controversial – and is sure to have the spotlight shining directly on this Michigan-based performer. Quick with a laugh or a self-effacing story, Jolley also has a serious side that is clearly evident in this composition, written by hit-makers Charlie Daniels, Kim Williams and Doug Johnson. "I knew when I heard it that it was huge - with a powerful message," Jay recalls. "My hope is that the song opens a dialog that teaches us to look at individuals instead of at their religion." The track was produced by nationally recognized producer/songwriter Chuck Alkazian (Bobaflex, Pop Evil) at Pearl Sound studio.
A husband and father of two (Sabrina is 12; Jasmine 8), I was a "frock," Jolley notes. "Not a 'freak' and not a total 'jock' either." Interesting insight from a letterman whose favorite sports included track, wrestling and boxing. "Oh, and I also participated in theater," he adds with his trademark grin. "I was always auditioning for something."
Like many entertainers, Jay got his start in small garage bands in high school. His talent and drive led him to bigger and better things, and it wasn't long before Jay found himself competing in local contests and nailing down steady gigs as a solo artist or band member in and around his hometown of Rochester, Michigan and the Midwest market. Those steady shows led to a large following, and soon Jolley was opening shows (with his own band, as lead singer for The Notorious Johnnys or as frontman and keyboardist for the band 2XL) for top-tier acts like The Black Crowes, Sass Jordan, Rick Springfield, Burton Cummings, John Alec Entwistle and UFO. Those big arena shows have Jolley envisioning a future that includes playing Madison Square Garden and historic European theatres like the Royal Albert Hall. He also longs to play the legendary Grand Ole Opry, a fact that might confuse some of his more rockin' colleagues. Nonetheless, Jay has long since earned the respect and admiration of his peers, like Liz Larin, one of AOR Magazine's (UK) 2013's 50 Greatest Women in Rock. Also on board the Jolley bandwagon are Anita Cochran and bassist Doug Kahan (John Rich, Justin Moore, Jack Ingram).
"It's really validating to have the respect of your peers," Jolley confesses. "But my earliest supporters were my maternal Grandmother (a concert pianist with the Cleveland Conservatory) and my parents who were both performers." Family remains important to this handsome vocalist, who recalls, "I learned an important lesson from my parents – who are now both gone," Jay notes. "Be passionate – about everything. They did so much to keep our family safe, happy and healthy. They worked hard, but they also 'played' hard." Jolley now pours every bit of passion he has into his music, his family and the everyday pleasures of life. He finds joy in fishing, 'fixing things,' flip-flops, ice hockey, NASCAR and spending time around the fire pit with 'his girls.' A giving soul, Jay supports Grace Centers of Hope (Michigan) and Operation Injured Soldiers (Michigan) in honor of his late father who served in the Coast Guard. A "regular" guy, Jolley loves equally the taste of Southern Comfort and the comfort of his favorite jeans, but he's also a man who couldn't live without hope or his faith.
For musical inspiration, Jay listens to Band Perry, Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi and Jason Aldean. Asked for insight into the diversity of his musical choices, Jay explains, "Genre doesn't matter to me. What counts is how a person sings, how the music sounds or how it makes you feel." It's a sure bet that those who hear Jay Jolley will be touched by his passion. This is a man with a big heart and a voice powerful enough to shake you to the core – and who has plans to do just that.