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Preview: Jake Blount on Proud Radio with Hunter Kelly

Image Courtesy of Proud Radio with Hunter Kelly on Apple Music Country

The upcoming episode of Proud Radio with Hunter Kelly, which premieres this Sunday, October 2, features Jake Blount—and we’ve got an advance taste for you! Jake joins Hunter to talk about being a part of Black Opry, recording his album, and being inspired by the concept of Afrofuturism.

Here are some key moments in the show…

Jake Blount on writing his album about the loss of normalcy

I’m not sure that I could have made this album at any other time, and I think part of that is because I was in this strange situation of watching kind of everyday life collapse around me as we all did, but nothing visibly being wrong. I vividly remember I think during the riots immediately following George Floyd’s murder, looking outside and just being like, where is the wreckage? My city should be in pieces right now just because our lives fell apart and all of the physical surroundings stayed exactly the same and it just didn’t feel real somehow. Part of me was just contemplating our attachment to normalcy and the things that we’re used to like our cars and everything else because we were talking about it nonstop with all the people who then and now are so resistant to taking precautions around the pandemic.

I think the takeaway for me there thinking about it was that this type of disruption is a small dry run for what’s coming down the pipe, and I’m hearing everyone political pundits, alleged medical experts on television, on the internet, talking about how important it is that we have normalcy, that everything stay normal. I’m sitting here thinking, that’s not going to be an option. Within my lifetime there will not be a normal anymore. What have we come to as a species that we’re not even discussing the possibility of adapting to our changing circumstances anymore? It’s all about I need this to suit my needs even when it can’t and about not knowing the difference between your needs and your wants. I think what I found fruitful about working on this album at that time, although I think there were a lot of things that were not great about working on this album at that time, was thinking about the things that we would still have.


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

I don’t feel attached to normalcy. I don’t feel that that’s something that I’m going to have through the rest of my life or that the children that I know today are going to have through their lives. We have to be ready for very big changes. It’s coming whether we want it or not, and I think I wanted to explore how that might be reflected in the music. I don’t think that it’s reflected in an entirely bad way. The music on that record is deep and sad and troubled in a lot of ways, but it’s vibrant and it’s exciting.

Jake Blount on representing the goodness in country music

At our show in Asheville, just last Friday at Isis Music Hall, this music teacher was in the audience and he came up to me afterwards and was telling me he teaches kindergartners and he has this young black boy in his class who is clearly experimenting with something. He’s five, who knows, but will come in every day wearing a head wrap and they’re talking to this kid’s parents and the kid’s parents are fully on board with it, but something’s going on. We don’t know what, and everyone’s trying to make room for this kid to be himself, and I guess he showed his class, the “Once There Was No Sun” video and everyone was getting up and dancing because Viva was throwing down in that video. She’s an incredible dancer. She was like four months pregnant when we did that and she didn’t tell me. I didn’t know until after.

He was playing this for his class. They were all dancing and he said that in the middle of all the dancing in the mayhem, this little boy was just staring at the screen going, “he looks like me, he looks like me!” That was what it was about. I don’t know that often it’s easy for people who are in roots music to be seen by queer youth because I think a lot of queer youth feel just alienated by default from the things that we do. Even though I know being in this scene there’s a ton of queer people here and that it’s not all unwelcoming despite certain Aldeans and certain Wallens and whatever else. There’s a lot of goodness here. It’s hard for kids to see it and even for a lot of adults to see it so I wanted to be a part of making that goodness visible and being visible as who I am in the space that I’m in.

Tune in this Sunday, October 2, at 2pm PT / 4pm CT / 5pm ET, or any time afterward at on Apple Music Country.

Media and quotes courtesy of ‘Proud Radio with Hunter Kelly’ on Apple Music Country.