J. F. Oakes was born in the historic Vicksburg, Mississippi.
His family moved several places around the South (Hattiesburg, MS; Gonzales, LA, Vicksburg a few times) over the next several years before finally settling in the South Central town of Monticello, Mississippi…with many roots and family from Texas & Louisiana.
He’s been a teacher, a designer for the indie label Black Dog Records, a father, a painter, a music lover and an advocate for Mississippi music.
ALBUM: WEST OF CAPRICORN (DELUXE EDITION)
RELEASE DATE: November 4, 2017
This is the second solo album for J. F. Oakes and marks a no-holds-barred return to his Southern Rock roots. The majority of the album was recorded via LIVE tracking for two days at the famous ARDENT STUDIOS (Big Star, ZZ TOP, 38 Special, Stevie Ray Vaughn) in Memphis, Tennessee. Returning to record from J. F.’s successful first album (Acknowledge the Corn) were Grammy winner Billy Earheart (Hank Jr.’s Bama Band, The Amazing Rhythm Aces…currently featured on several songs for the No. 1 Blues Album on iTunes (Strange Angels: In Flight with Elmore James)) on organ and grand piano, as well as Max Williams (The Kudzu Kings, George McConnell & the Nonchalants) on guitars electric, acoustic and steel. New to the second album were Justin Showah (Jimbo Mathus & the Tri-State Coalition, The Taylor Grocery Band) on bass and Ryan Rogers (Jimbo Mathus & the Tri-State Coalition, Rocket 88) on drums/percussion.
Oakes took the recordings to Dipping Vat Studio, in his home county (Lawrence) in Mississippi, to complete the recording work for the album. Nick Smith (former guitarist for American Idol contestant Skylar Laine, owner of Dipping Vat Studio) was the engineer and also added some guitar fills on THE WEIGHT OF LOVE and lead guitar, and fill, throughout LOW DOWN…as well a little banjo on WEEPING WILLOW! Tate Moore (lead singer for the alt-country Mississippi icons The Kudzu Kings) also added some backing vocals on LOW DOWN (recorded at Taproot Audio Design in Oxford, MS). For a complete listing of the musicians that played on the album make sure you run by the J. F. OAKES MUSIC Facebook page!
“It’s just good old Southern Rock. I call it driving music. For the most part it’s Blues based uptempo stuff. 12 bars and the truth I guess you’d say,” says Oakes. “It’s a lot different than my first album. ACKNOWLEDGE THE CORN was originally intended to be a side project of acoustic songs. It turned into something else when my mother passed away and my former band didn’t look like they were going to put out a new album. This one, on the other hand, was always going to be a Southern Rock album. I ended up with a gritty/dirty sound that fits what I wanted the album to be. It’s a warts-and-all deal. If you like Southern Rock that kicks a little bit….and you’re on a road trip, especially to New Orleans, you need to throw this one on and give it a listen, in my opinion.”
“So Jeffrey Reed (Taproot Audio Design, formerly of Black Dog Records & Ardent Studios – Gin Blossoms, Primal Scream) and I picked a dream list of musicians from Mississippi to bring the music home….and we basically had the same list so it worked out well for the music. Everyone gelled pretty quickly.”
“I’ve got songs about drinking, one about a Civil War soldier, love and hate, and a lot of songs about women. I can’t think of much that’s more Southern than all that.”
WEST OF CAPRICORN (Deluxe Edition) also includes two demos. THE WEEPING WILLOW (CIVIL WAR LAMENT) – ROUGH DEMO is a copy of the first home recording of the song. J. F.’s friend, and indie rocker, Cole Powell helped J. F. put some of the songs together and this is the original acoustic version of the song. A GOOD ONE is the second rough demo on the album. J. F. woke up at 2 a.m. with words and music in his head for the song. It was the day before he was to release the masters for production and distribution….so he threw it together and recorded it at home….if there is a third album a fully produced version will be there. The reason for putting it on this album, even though it was in a rough form? “If you wake up in the middle of the night with a song 90% composed in your head…that’s not a coincidence,” Oakes said with a smile and a laugh.
J. F. has had some health issues that have kept him from performing and recording as he would have liked the last few years…”At the time we recorded the album I truly thought it was going to be the last one I was most likely going to do. I’m not dying or anything, but the health problems were such that recording and performing were going to be really difficult. Since then, there is some hope for, at the least, another album down the road. Fingers and vocal chords, crossed anyway,” says Oakes.
MUSIC VIDEO LINK:
BLESS YOUR HEART from the WEST OF CAPRICORN (Deluxe Edition) album by J. F. Oakes (Directed by award winning video director J. B. Lawrence – Jason Isbell, Luther Dickinson)