Justin Payne

Justin Payne brings his music home for album release party

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News No sooner had Justin Payne released his second recording, he headed out of town. This fall, the Bowling Green-based singer songwriter embarked on a five-week solo with company tour that took him to points west and east including his first show in New York City. Accompanying him on the tour was fellow singer-songwriter Zach Wilson. They played solo and accompanied each other for a few numbers. The two singer-songwriters will present a double CD release party Friday, Nov. 24, at Howard’s Club H. The 8 p.m. show will feature sets by each of them, then a set by Corduroy Road, culminating in some “beer-brined” jamming at the end. Wilson, who plays bass with the Justin Payne and Co. band on “High Water,” will mark the release of “Send Scenery.” The show reunites Payne with the quartet that played on “High Water,” which also includes guitarist Calvin Cordy, who also engineered the recording, and drummer Adam Rice. The session was collaborative and inclusive. “Most of the stuff I like about the project was brought by my collaborators,” Payne said. The recording was also inspired by the space in which it was made. Payne said he spent the summer cleaning out his late mother-in-law’s barn. When the hay loft was finally empty he realized that “it’s a picture perfect recording environment. If you’re going for a rootsy sound that’s the room you want to use.” Payne grew up in Newark. His grandparents encouraged him to play violin when he was about 4, though his parents were not as enamored of those early screeches. He went on to play in his school orchestra as well as acting in musical theater. He came to Bowling Green to study violin and composition at the College of Musical Arts. He played in the Bowling Green Philharmonia for a couple years and gigged with civic orchestras in the area. He grew disillusioned with the life of an orchestral violinist, and didn’t see much future in it. Payne ended up getting degrees in History and Philosophy. While his violin took a back seat, his guitar came to the fore. He got his first electric guitar when he was 12. He was enamored of heavy metal and hardcore punk. Now his parents had to contend with “distorted raunchy trash coming from my bedroom.” Payne said that early experience still makes itself felt in particular way – he’s always breaking strings on his acoustic guitar. Payne had been writing for a long time. As a college student he earned money editing his fellow students’ papers. He even penned verses for classical art songs. He spent three years cooking at the Corner Grill, and that’s when the music and words started connecting  after “accumulating a lot of life experience  karma.” He credits his grandparents for his love of Hank Williams, and the Grill’s owner Larry Cain for introducing him to high quality blues, particularly Howlin’ Wolf. Working at the Grill also helped open him up emotionally, exposing him to the lives and stories of customers.  “You get locked up in your own drama and trials and tribulations. … It was an eye-opening experience for me.” He credits the Polar Vortex of several years ago with finally launching him seriously into music. He was spending his nights at the Grill when it was too cold for customers to come out, so he had lots of time to write. And otherwise he was in a freezing apartment with a broken window that let the elements in. He headed to North Carolina for a while. Back in Bowling…