Howdy. My name is Jubal Lee Young. My parents did that to me. I like it now, but grade school was rough at times. I’m the only son of Steve Young (steveyoung.net) and Terrye Newkirk. And it shows. I was born in French Hospital in San Francisco, California in June of 1971. Back then, when you learned to crawl, it was uphill, both ways, in the snow. My folks moved to Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee in 1973. That’s where my earliest memories begin. Including a few of Waylon Jennings being at our house.
I grew up around lots of famous and infamous people. I took it all completely for granted, of course. They were just my parent’s friends. I didn’t think that much of it until later. Looking back, I realize that not everyone answered the phone to find Townes Van Zandt on the other end, looking to speak to my dad, and chit-chatting politely with me for a minute first.
My love affair with music didn’t fully begin until I was about 12 years old. That’s when I became serious about learning to play the guitar. Within a year, I was starting to sing, and almost immediately after that, I was attempting to write my own songs. I played in lots of garage bands through high school. I mostly carried that on through my 20s, somewhat hiding out, experimenting with lots of various substances, and making some incredible music… that not many people ever heard.
It was a different sort of music, too. For a long time, I fell in with a crowd that was into more prog rock stuff. Drummers who worshiped Neil Peart, bass players who studied Chris Squier and Geddy Lee, and so on. Coupled with my own more rootsy style and well-defined sense of melody, it often produced a very interesting result. There was even label interest at a couple points, but much like my efforts to step out of my father’s long shadow by playing a completely different style of music, I also tended to shy away from actually being discovered. I paid a lot of lip-service to “making it” but my actions didn’t exactly express my singular focus to do so. I loved music, but I also knew, having grown up in it, what a cruel bitch the music business was. It had a crippling effect on me that the fresh faced dreamers stepping off the bus in Nashville never had to contend with. I continued to hide out.
Eventually, I came to struggle some with the rock star lifestyle, even though I was no rockstar. I had to admit my drinking and substance abuse was a bit out of hand. So I quit it. Regrouped. The healing and transformation during that period was immense. Rife with personal revelations and attitude adjustments. I got married. Had a child of my own. And realized and accepted that my father’s musical legacy was mine and mine alone to carry on. I returned to my roots. I not only studied his music again, I studied his influences, too. It changed my direction.
In 2004, I met Thomm Jutz and we made a CD together. It was released in 2006 as “Not Another Beautiful Day” on Western Beat. It pretty much went nowhere, but got me on the very edge of the map. You know, where it’s labeled “Here there be sea serpents.” In 2007, Thomm and I made another CD. The self-titled and self-released one. I got so much more done with that one myself than the small label did, without even knowing what I was doing, that I decided to just keep that up. In 2009, we made “The Last Free Place In America”. And in 2011, Thomm helped me make my ode to Outlaw, “Take It Home”.
Like my father before me, I tend to be a critic’s darling, and pretty much obscure as far as commercial success. But that’s not really why I make music anyway. It’s never been about the glorification of my ego, or for the fame and fortune. It’s about the music. More than that, it’s about making music on my own terms, in accordance with my vision. It’s nice to sell CDs, it’s awesome to have people come to my shows, but I will always attempt to make music that I love, first and foremost. And I love a lot of different music.
As a result, each of my CDs will always sound a little different from the other. I despise neat categories. I make Southern American music. It’s got elements of everything, and some of it has even been filtered back to me through British kids in the 60s imitating American black folks from the 30s. Music is a trip.
A little known fact about me is that I am a single dad. I have been since 2009. That has very much affected my career. I am not as free to hit the road on an endless couch tour. I go out when I can, when it makes sense. That’s about all I can do, because I am absolutely committed to being a good father for my daughter. It’s very important to me. I don’t regret it. She’s a wonderful little soul that brings much joy to my life. Waffle Houses and hotel beds are overrated anyway. Especially at my ripe, old age. Ha!
I look forward to bringing you my thoughts and experiences here. My first major project will be a road blog as I go out on tour with my legendary father in the Western US from late May through mid July 2012. Stay tuned. It’ll be highly entertaining at least!
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Outlaw Magazine. Country, Rock and Roll, Blues, Folk, Americana, Punk. As long as it is real, it is OUTLAW. Overproduced mediocrity need not apply.