About Bear Cub
Jesse Hall left the city he loves and a promising band to follow a girl to Austin. All he got was a broken heart, a long trip back and the seed for one of the best albums to come out of Pittsburgh in 2010.
Pieces of the debut record from Bear Cub were written on that 2,000-mile car trip back home and, in indie-folk/Americana style, it chronicles the singer-songwriter's ill-fated romantic venture south.
"I quit the band so I could move there. And this girl," he says, "she turned me on to a lot of music I'd never heard. I was pretty closed in. I grew up on NOFX and a lot of punk bands, and the Beatles. She turned me on to Townes Van Zandt and John Prine, a lot of blues music like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. I got down to writing stripped-down songs with a pop sensibility and more straight-ahead lyrics."
In terms of a relationship, Texas "was a disaster from the word go." After a few months, Mr. Hall packed up and left Austin, stopping on the way to visit friends in Nashville to write down some of the songs and "get my wits about me."
"When I started writing, it was not meant to be as autobiographical as it is," he says of the album. "I don't preconceive anything when I write a song. I just grab a guitar and it's whatever comes out. I always tell people songwriting is one of the most honest forms of self-discovery. You figure out where you're head is right at the moment. The first two months I was back, I was just a mess." He fought through the depression to get the songs down on tape with the help of his dad, who plays a variety of instruments. Recording was an emotional experience all its own.
The singer-songwriter vents his sorrows with the regret-laden ballad "I Told You So," where he concludes "I love you but you're impossible to know," and "Tennessee's Calling," where he declares "Goodbye Texas, you never did fit." Another standout is the tequila-powered adventure "Mexico," reminiscent of a rollicking Bright Eyes tune.www.bearcubclub.com