.Wolf Jett’s Album Release Party at the Kuumbwa.

Rising from the Ashes

Wolf Jett’s drummer, Jon Payne, and lead vocalist Chris Jones, understand the double-edged chainsaw nature of mountain life, for better (and worse), than most. Childhood friends, Jones and Payne dreamed of one day building a recording studio to capture their cosmic mountain music rhythms. In 2020, they completed the high-end, but rustic, studio on the property that Payne and his wife live on, in Boulder Creek. Within a notoriously short amount of time, due to the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, the studio, and home, and dream, were ashes.

Like their spiritual, and geographical compadres, The Coffis Brothers, the inspirational, fuel-injected Wolf Jett, also identifies as a band from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The mysteries, tragedies and beauty of living in the mountains, infuse the spirit of Wolf Jett’s songs. Add to this the band’s camaraderie, community spirit, and positive affirmation that things will be OK, make Wolf Jett poised and ready for the bigger stage. 

Wolf Jett’s new album (their 2nd) is titled, Time Will Finally Come. You can draw a line from the immersive sounds of Bay Area bands of the 1960s-1980s (Payne and Jones originally bonded on their mutual love of Metallica) to the dorms of Chico State, where the Mother Hips formed, down to the mountains of Santa Cruz.  Call it California Soul, or whatever label you need, but Wolf Jett moves effortlessly between grinding little numbers like, Strong Help Carry the Weak, to bluegrassy jams like Fare Thee Well. The beautiful ballad, Tivara, anchors the uplifting jams the band is known for, with a bittersweet soulful sound. Eclectic, and unable to be pigeon-holed, Wolf Jett comes across as a band whose time has indeed, finally, come.

On Time Will Finally Come, when Laura T. Lewis sings Broken, you can hear a hit that could be picked up by Nashville country singers. Lewis brings all the sunshine that hides behind the clouds. And, when Lewis joins Jones on the eponymous Time Will Finally Come, it’s like traveling back in time to the music of Delaney and Bonnie. There’s a soulful undercurrent brewing, that is more like the San Lorenzo breaching its banks. The track, Feel The Way I Feel, is another time-travelling ditty that could have appeared in any decade, in the last sixty years. What ties it all together is a sense of hope, community and overcoming adversity.

After three years of touring throughout California and beyond, the band has earned frequent radio play on local favorite KPIG and become a staple of the Santa Cruz music scene. Now, “Time Will Finally Come” is poised to broaden the band’s musical appeal and become a fan-favorite, as evidenced by the overwhelmingly positive reception of their first three singles released from the record in 2023. Produced and recorded in Oakland by Jonathan Kirchner (Con Brio), the album evolves the band’s sound in a more upbeat, cosmic-electric soul direction and features guest artists AJ Lee (AJ Lee & Blue Summit) and Jason Crosby (Jackson Browne, Phil Lesh, Mother Hips).

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Payne says that Wolf Jett’s music, “Has a foot in the jamband world and a foot in Americana. And, Chris Jones was raised in the South and he brings a Southern rock/country influence.”

Chris Jones states, “Time Will Finally Come is a redemption story. We are finally able to celebrate life again, but these songs don’t forget what has happened over the past few years. There’s recognition of our trauma alongside hope for what’s to come. It’s the sound of rebuilding and learning from the past.”

Wolf Jett is having their record release party, of Time Will Finally Come, at The Kuumbwa Jazz on March 16th and will play the album in its entirety, with vinyl and CDs to sell. Plus, with their studio, finally being rebuilt and ready to roll, just this month, Wolf Jett has come full circle and ready to rise up, like a Phoenix in the sky.

Wolf Jett will have a record release party at The Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar Street, on Saturday, March 16th. For tickets and more information go to www.wolfjett.com

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