JT’s family band sets the groove

By WilliamPrentiss

Jeremy “JT” Lindsay considers his band, JT & the Clouds, a family—a working unit of six performers making the music they enjoy. Because of it, the groove-infused blues and soul they produce is uniquely theirs. Lindsay plays with his brother Drew Lindsay and friends he grew up with in Toledo, Ohio. They’ve released three albums and have a fourth, “Caledonia,” scheduled for release on April 16.

The Chronicle recently talked to Lindsay about the new release and why being unique in Chicago is an advantage.

The Chronicle: How is your latest record going to be different from your other CDs?

Jeremy Lindsay: The JP Nero record we did in 2008 was a bunch of pretty sad songs. They all came from a raw time emotionally, and it was fitting they were together. The record kind of ended up being soft and kind of sad—a little weirder in terms of some of the sonic textures. I think for this one, we were kind of anxious to get back to a full band just playing—not a lot of studio tricks.  Just getting after it as a band, which is what I think we do well. The songs are little more compact and the record on the whole grooves really hard. I’m really proud of it in that respect. This is a record you can put on for an entire drive and not worry about being put down or falling asleep.

The Chronicle: Have you found that sounding different than what people expect has helped you be successful?

JL: Maybe. I think that Chicago is a great music town and there are a number of places that you can play in town that don’t cater to a type of music. The rooms that we like to play in Chicago—like the Empty Bottle, where we’re doing our CD release, or The Hideout or Schubas—they’re indie music rooms, but they’re not ghettoed to one thing. It’s not like you know you’re going to hear this type of band when you go to this one place. I think that helps in Chicago because people are pretty open-minded when it comes to what they’ll see. It doesn’t have to be any one thing. I think in the larger market, sometimes it provides some difficulties. People always want to put you into something that people can easily understand and compare to something that came before. I understand that impulse, but we’re not too intrigued by it. You do what you do and hope people sort it out. We have a certain amount of faith that there’s a lot of music fans out there [and] that’s exactly what they are looking for too—something that is a little bit different and something that doesn’t fit easily in the things that came before. They’re out there. It just takes a little more work to find them.

The Chronicle: What’s been the craziest experience you’ve had since you’ve started performing?

JL: About two years ago, we did a whole tour in February and early March in the eastern states and eastern Canada. It was a really rough, snowy winter. It was basically blizzards everywhere and I feel like we, in our band van, were following this one vicious storm or it was following us, city to city. We were on a little highway outside of Vermont on a night when I think they got the most snow they’ve had in 75 years in Vermont, which is a pretty snowy state. It was like 30 inches over the course of a day. There was a truck that jackknifed up ahead of us, so the whole highway got stacked. No one could go anywhere. It was snowing so hard we sat and watched snow pile up around people’s doors to the point we thought we would be buried, but they finally got it and dug everybody out. That seems like a mundane thing, but that does stick with bands that are touring all the time because it is kind of crazy to be out on the highways all the time. It’s not the safest place in the world, there’s a lot of crazy [stuff] that happens on the nation’s highways.

For concert listings about JT & the Clouds and a sample of their music, visit JTandtheClouds.com.

JT’s family band

sets the groove