Jamie Lester is known throughout the state of West Virginia as an artist and musician that sets the standard high. His band Lords Of Lester just released their new album, Oracle. The album is a collection of folk klezmer tracks with fantastic lyrics and excellent production. It is not hard to hear the passion that covers this entire project. They will be performing tracks off of the album and Jamie will have art pieces on display. We talked to him about the band and the upcoming installment of the Born & Bred Concert Series which will see Lords of Lester take the stage at the Robinson Grand on September 9th.
BB: Where in West Virginia do you come from and where does the band hail from?
JL: I am originally from Oceana, WV and now live in Morgantown, WV. The band, Lords of Lester, was formed in 2017.
BB: Who are some influences on your music and writing style?
JL: Traditional folk songs are a big part of the inspirations for many of my melodic writing, including early American songs, eastern and western folk music. Bill Monroe, Seldom Scene, David Grisman and other early bluegrass is a strong influence. Indie folk artists who have inspired me include Iron and Wine, Deer Tick, Andrew Bird, Chris Thile, Fleet Foxes. Indie Rock bands I love include Death Cab for Cutie, My Morning Jacket, The Shins. Early inspiration came from skate punk bands like Bad Brains, Suicidal Tendencies, then a bunch of metal bands including Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura. Electronic music inspirations include Skinny Puppy, MGMT, Daft Punk, Justice. Rap music includes Kanye West, Tupac Shakur, KRS- One, A Tribe Called Quest, Kid Cudi. I write in a lot of different styles, favoring a melodic bluegrass folk style, but rock and metal influences are evident in some of the dramatic compositions.
BB: How has being from West Virginia influenced your music?
JL: I wasn’t exposed to a lot of folk or bluegrass music where I grew up. In Oceana, we were isolated from other trends and tended to be about 5 years behind. Before MTV we were mostly stuck with rock and metal artists from the 70s and 80s. Then we discovered punk, heavy metal and other metal genres, and grunge. It wasn’t until I moved to Morgantown for college at 17 that I started to become influenced by more obscure college genres. I think the isolation of West Virginia makes artists from this state a little more fresh and original, even if a bit more naive.
BB: What can people expect from your set?
JL: Lords of Lester will be performing with our seven piece band including drums, guitar, bass, mandolin, clarinet and fiddle.
BB: Who are some West Virginia artists you’re listening to?
JL: Some of my favorite West Virginia artists are 18 Strings, Sierra Ferrell, Matt Mullins, Andrew Adkins, Charles Wesley Godwin, John Inghram and Chris Haddox.
BB: What else are you listening to currently?
JL: I’ve been enjoying Tyler Childers, Sturgill Simpson, Suitcase Junket, Billy Strings, Gillian Welch, Fleetwood Mac, Fruition, Norman Blake, Ed Sheeran
BB: What inspired you or took you down the path of music?
JL: I always loved to sing and was fascinated with hits from Queen and Led Zeppelin as a child. I knew that I could play the guitar before I ever picked up the instrument. I could hear all the separate parts in my head, and it just made sense to me. When I did get a guitar, I formed a band about a month later and started writing. My high school bands were Roadkill and Uncle Scam.
BB: What is one song you want people to listen to from your catalog if they were to say, “Hey what do you sound like?”
JL: That’s tough because we are always evolving. Balsam Road is probably a good blend of the eastern european folk inspiration mixed with bluegrass styles.
Listen to Balsam Road below and get your tickets to see Jamie in Lords Of Lester with other performances by Corduroy Brown and John Inghram and pre-show performances from Evan Ferrell, A.M. Benson and Meadow Road. Get your tickets here: Tickets