While Jacksonville may not be as steeped in southern culture as Charleston, Savannah or Mobile, it still has the geography that evokes a languid way of life: cypress-filled rivers and lowlands and humid afternoons with the sun languish- ing through the oaks and pines.
Musically, references to basic family and rustic values associated with a southern lifestyle have been popularized by Nashville’s country sound, yet one does not hear much of that genre in Jacksonville unless you happen upon The Crazy Daysies, a country duo made up of Jennifer Day-Thompson (viola) and Rebecca Day (guitar).
In May, the self-proclaimed country music artists produced an EP of four songs brewed right out of the Nashville sound. Recorded in Riverside at Rockbot Studios by Josh Cobb, the songs are a solid mix of acoustic guitar, pitch-perfect harmonies, and soulful viola overlaid on Rebecca’s confident and lyrical country-tinged tenor. Although the songs don’t break new ground and don’t veer from Nashville’s formulaic tried-and-true recipe of rhythmic acoustic guitar accented by slide and overdrive guitar, there are enough well-polished hooks and genre-filled idiom to keep you engaged.
“Until I Win,” an autobiographical account of Rebecca’s early struggles to gain acceptance as a musician, is a haunt- ing composition using ascending harmonies over breathy vocals to convey the solemnness of her story.
“I had to convince people that I was to be taken seriously,” she says. “Small bones didn’t mean I was weak in the head.”
More importantly, the songs are true to their South Carolina roots. “Where the Dirt Runs Out of Road” paints a bucolic picture of a country home and its appeal to the familial roots that draw them back. “We wanted to create a metaphorical image or place at the end of the road where you can always go back to,” says Jennifer.
Rebecca, who began playing seriously at the age of 18, started the duo. After receiving her associate degree, she tried the University of North Florida for one day before coming home and having a “meltdown.”
“I just knew I only wanted to play music,” she says. After winning support from her parents, she left school and began promoting herself and booking gigs at local bars and hotels. It was only 18 months ago that Jennifer, who studied viola classically as a child, joined her, adding the soulful counterpoint of her instrument to her sister’s brisk rhythms. Since creating the duo, The Crazy Daysies keep a full calendar booking performances in the Jacksonville area. Their energetic shows engage the room, reflecting a confident showmanship. Rebecca flashes an occasional attitude of rebelliousness, while Jennifer, like her reserved viola, remains a quiet counterpoint.
“We love to interact with the crowd,” says Rebecca, who reports that off the stage her sister is the one who is the extrovert. “Growing up she always loved the camera.”
The sisters have scheduled a trip Nashville in October and plan to play at the famous Bluebird Café. Rebecca says this will be her second trip to the Music City, as she went there two years ago to network with local songwriters to hone her craft.
For now, the sisters will continue performing locally, building their fan base, and promoting their CD and brand of authentic country music that continues to take root in Jacksonville and, hopefully, beyond.
Article written by Mike Bernos