Photo by Anthony Ford.

Next year, riff rockers Jefferson Colby will have been a band for a remarkable 15 years. This means guitar-champion frontman Daniel Mabe first began shouldering six-strings on stages around town about the time that kids who are now first learning to play the instrument were just born. That sort of longevity is an accomplishment of will, if nothing else. Many creative types too often grow bored of their projects. A band, of course, requires the interest and attention of multiple people, which makes this trio’s staying power all the more impressive.

Still, the last few years have been relatively quiet for Jefferson Colby, especially considering the band’s eyebrow-raising pace of a new album every year when they were first getting started. Despite the slowing output and the fact that they don’t play out much these days, Mabe said JC will always be a thing. 

“I think I’ll always like to make Jefferson Colby a part of my life,” Mabe said, “even if I’m an old man, even if I make some other project or if I became a solo artist — which I’m not super into the thought of — but if I ended up using my own name or something, I’d still make Jefferson Colby records.”

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The latest proof of Mabe’s commitment comes in the form of a fresh new EP. Released via Bandcamp last week, 36 Hours is the band’s ninth studio effort. For a songwriter just into his 30s, it’s a staggering milestone — one that, if Mabe had had his way, the trio would have eclipsed years ago. JC has been plagued by the same progress stoppers that almost all bands suffer to some degree: growing domestic responsibilities and a drummer with multiple musical commitments. (Mabe’s older brother Matt Mabe also plays drums for Matt Tedder, Ansley, and Vodeo, among others. Mabe said he’s been doing his best to roll with the lulls.

36 Hours was originally tracked back in 2016. With founding bass player Jeff Moore back in the fold after a five-year hiatus, the trio went into Hurst’s Sessionworks Studios with engineer Jeff Mount and tracked the material in just one day. If recording eight songs in a single session doesn’t rouse a bit of awe, the three managed to completely re-track the entirety of their first album, 2007’s Inadaze — a work they were never happy with — for a re-release slated for early next year, all in that same day. 

The project didn’t initially go as smoothly as the trio had thought. The release of the 36 Hours material was delayed after the three members discovered some issues with the bass tracks. Moore would eventually go in to re-record his bass parts, but then the guys were dismayed to find that the original basswork had bled into the drum mics and clashed with the new bass tracks, thereby making the original drum recording also unusable. The elder Mabe took on the daunting task of re-tracking all of his drum parts to a pre-recorded guitar track, something completely backward from normal convention. 

Matt was skeptical of the process, especially because the band did not initially use a click-track guide to sync the players’ timing, which can lead to tempo fluctuations that would present nightmare scenarios for matching takes and editing. But after Mount assured Matt that his internal sense of time is flawless, the drummer was actually able to redo all of the tracks in just a matter of a few hours. 

Now that 36 Hours is finally out and the re-recorded version of Inadaze is on the horizon, the younger Mabe looks forward to Jefferson Colby continuing to add years to its already lengthy lifespan.

“In my head, I’m stilling willing to give my life to this thing of being artistic,” he said. “I’m not seeing any other way I’m going to live my life than that I’m going to be making music, and art, and things like that, forever.”