By: Jeff Perlman Editor-in-chief
There’s not too many people who can claim to be the voice on a song that sums up an era.
But Jesse Colin Young can make that claim and the song “Get Together” not only captures the vibe of the 60s, but it’s message is timeless and as Mr. Young describes it: “beautiful.”
“I remember the first time I heard the song,” says Young. “It hit me right away…unlike any other song, before or since. And I immediately knew I wanted to record it. I felt the song was destiny for me, in some way. I have a love for it. It’s spirit is what I believe in and it’s what the world is crying out for. It’s incredibly special. We let it be, what it is.”
Get Together was a huge hit for the Youngblood’s and the song has since been featured in movies, TV shows and even a Walmart commercial which was released shortly after this summer’s protests in Charlottesville. In the ad, people of all ages, colors and ethnicities grab chairs and gather at one table.
“It’s what my generation stood for,” says Young who called us from his home in Hawaii, where he lives with his wife and where he has grown and sold organic coffee since 1990.
After stepping away from music for 7 years, Jesse Colin Young is back touring, recording and writing. And he couldn’t be happier.
He and his band, which features his son bassist Tristan Young, will be at Boca’s Funky Biscuit for two shows Feb. 16-17. Tickets range from $50-65 and can be purchased at www.funkybiscuit.com
For 50 years, Jesse Colin Young has been singing songs about peace, relationships and the environment. From his folk days in Boston and his first record, Soul Of a City Boy, he has articulated and recorded the tumultuous times of the 60s, 70’s, 80’s to the present, while reminding us that it is all about family, community and the precious natural world we live in. His musical style is now considered Americana, but in fact it’s his unique fusion of jazz, blues, folk and rock with an emphasis on his extraordinary voice that makes his signature sound.
These are productive times for the artist. He is currently working on new material which he will release in 2018. The Boca shows will be a mix of long time favorites and the first ever live performances of new songs that Jesse is anxious to share.
“I will probably play 30-35 minutes solo with an acoustic guitar,” he says. “Then do another 90 minutes with the band. I want to see how the new songs do before an audience. That’s how you know if they’re any good. I think they are. But the audience will decide.”
Jesse says he’s writing steadily these days and about subjects that are relevant to today’s world including a new song about Dreamers, young people who came to America as children who are now caught up in immigration politics.
“I’ve written four new songs in the past few weeks,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this productive.”
His Hawaii coffee farm has proven to be a creative oasis with beautiful views and more importantly limited cell service which has enabled him to write without distraction.
He bought the farm after his home “Ridgetop” near San Francisco (which is a beautiful song) was lost to a fire.
“I healed myself by becoming a farmer,” he says. “It was my wife Connie’s idea. We both love to grow things.”
Born in 1941, Jesse went to grade school with Art Garfunkel and remembers being in “Artie’s” fourth grade class. At this stage of his career, he’s touring to be with his fans, play, travel and enjoy life.
“I haven’t lost the high notes,” he says. “Playing for me is like coming home. I’m doing this for the pure joy of it. I also love the band. I like how they play and they put a smile on my face every night. It’s great that in my golden years, I get to play with the best bands I’ve had.”
Throughout his professional life of recording and touring, Jesse has always taken the time to dedicate his life to giving back to the world. He has performed on behalf of organizations ranging from No Nukes in the late 70s, The Dream Foundation and Saratoga Warhorse, to Prep Fest and the Kona Pacific Waldorf School. Holding environmental accountability, veteran support and quality education as a moral code of action, Jesse remains committed and active as an individual and performer.
He takes great pride in the No Nukes movement, which is on his mind, a few days after Hawaii had a scare with a false alarm about a missile attack.
He became involved with No Nukes along with his friends Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt after wondering if people really understand the dangers of a nuclear age.
“I think we got people’s attention,” he said. “You didn’t see a facility built for decades. It wasn’t a high falutin idea. We tied into community groups and supported the groundswell that was building. It was a special time. Artists make a difference..they truly do.”