SEE THE STORY
Jason Wickens is the founder, producer, and talent buyer of Live From The Divide, an hour-long public radio show featuring performances from Americana songwriters. An aspiring musician, songwriter, and focus of YETI’s latest film ‘The Divide,’ Wickens checked in with us to talk Willie Nelson, songwriting advice, and pretending to be Steve Earle.
Q. Why start Live From the Divide?
A. Wickens: There is so much talent out there and I wanted to do something to showcase and promote the people who dedicate their lives to the craft of songwriting. I've been incredibly fortunate to host literally hundreds of performances at Live From the Divide. The past five years have felt like a master class in songwriting for me.
Q. Who is your favorite artist to play Live From The Divide?
A. Houston Marchman. I had just graduated high school when I got my hands on my brothers copy of Houston Marchman's 'Blue Cadillac' . The son ‘Me and My Old Man’ changed everything for me. I felt I had been given permission to write a 'country' song that had nothing to do with the Nashville scene. To have him for the show this many years later in Montana was a full circle moment. We also stayed up all night telling stories and drinking whiskey, which of course was a good time.
Q. At what age did you write your first song?
A. I believe I was 12. I got a Zoom effects foot pedal for Christmas that could record 4 seconds on a loop. I was obsessed with creating melodies and writing terrible lyrics for them.
Q. What artist would you compare your musical style to? (what artist)
A. I'm not really sure who I would compare my music to. I've been accused of sounding like Reckless Kelly mixed with a little bit of Chris Ledoux. But I can honestly say, at this point I'm just trying to sound like myself. Not to say I didn't have a few years there pretending I was Steve Earle.
Q. The easiest thing about songwriting is _______.
A. Picking up the guitar.
Q. The hardest thing about songwriting is_______.
A. Leaving the self-doubt at the door. I'm extremely critical, which is not always a good thing when you’re trying to be creative.
Q. In your opinion, who's the best songwriter and why?
A. This is going to sound like the obvious choice but if I absolutely had to pick one it would have to be Willie Nelson. Song for song, nobody writes ‘em like Willie.
Q. Favorite lyrics?
A. I'd rather sleep in a box like a bum on the street
Than a fine feather bed without your little ol' cold feet
I'd rather be deaf, dumb, and stone blind
Than to know that your mornings will never be mine
Magnolia Wind, Guy Clark
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Live From The Divide is an independently produced hour-long public radio program whose mission is to advocate for songwriters of American roots music. Through the platform of public radio they are connecting the authentic voice of artists to an appreciative listening audience.