Shortly after singer-songwriter Jake Paleschic graduated high school in spring 2009, he packed his bags and moved from Fort Worth to Nashville. Some friends and fellow musos he’d hung out with at a coffee shop in Burleson, who’d also moved to the capital of corporate country music, invited him to share an old rent house so they could write and perform songs at their own pace. Paleschic wound up doing very little songwriting for the two years he lived in Nashville, but then he’d never expected to make it big there. And the experience was creatively formative nonetheless.
“More than anything, I just wanted to get out of the state I was raised in,” said Paleschic, 22. “There were about 10 of us in that house. We’d sit around the porch, handing the guitar around and tossing out ideas for songs. Just doing that helped equip me for the process of songwriting.”
One of his housemates was singer-songwriter Joey Gorman, a close friend and frequent collaborator. Not long after Paleschic returned to Fort Worth in 2011, he joined Gorman’s punk-influenced outfit The Longshots as bassist, co-songwriter, and singer. The band’s raw, aggressive sound –– inspired by classic provocateurs like The Stooges and The New York Dolls –– was no problem for Paleschic, since as a teen he’d taught himself guitar by replicating the loud, showy riffs of death metal bands. But more subtle, introspective artists –– rootsy performers like Neil Young and Mark Kozolek of Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon –– were closer to his heart and his style of songwriting.
Paleschic still performs with The Longshots –– they just played three sanctioned gigs at South by Southwest in March –– but he has now formed his own quartet called Patriot with guitarist Tyler Brown, bassist Austin Kroll, and drummer Pete Wierenga. With Patriot, Paleschic wants to showcase his folk- and country-inflected compositions that are largely autobiographical but, he hopes, universal enough to connect with an audience.
“American Dreamer,” a coming-of-age tune about his experiences in Nashville, is one of the songs on Patriot’s debut long-player Songs for the Fire and Brimstone Blues, recorded at Dreamy Soundz in Fairmount. Dreamy Soundz co-owners Jen and Robby Rux not only engineered the album but also financed it because they were so impressed with Paleschic’s work.
The young frontman goes out of his way to correct any political assumptions people might make from the band’s name.
“When people hear the word ‘patriot,’ they think bald eagles and red, white, and blue,” he said. “But to me, the word means a lot more than being a proud American. It means sticking to your beliefs and standing your ground, no matter where you’re from.”
Right now, Paleschic finds himself in an enviable position as a North Texas musician: He’s an active member of two bands that have generated strong buzz –– and for good reason. Later this month, The Longshots will play sets at Los Angeles record stores to celebrate the release of a new 45-inch vinyl they’ve released on the Austin-based Pau Wau label. They’ve also recorded a full-length that Gorman is currently shopping around to labels. Meanwhile, Paleschic also hopes to find a label for Patriot’s LP, though if the band doesn’t get any bites in the next couple of months, they’ll release it themselves in August. Bandmembers chose Dreamy Soundz as the place for making and mixing Songs for the Fire and Brimstone Blues to take advantage of the vinyl format’s superior sound quality, so the album’s first printings will be vinyl only.
As far as how he defines a successful music career, Paleschic isn’t placing too many expectations on the future. His goal right now is just to get his songs heard by as many people as possible through recording projects and live shows.
“Ultimately, I don’t want anything to get between my songs and the audience,” he said. “If I have to work other full-time jobs the rest of my life to keep making music, then I’ll do it. I could be in college right now, but I feel like I have something special to say. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t.”
Sat w/Siberian Traps and Animal Spirit at The Where House, 2510 Hemphill St, FW. 817-308-9762.