By Adam McGrath
Years of writing, touring, and grinding looks to be paying off for local songwriter Jason Ager, as his third album, Porchlight, is his most adventurous and cohesive effort yet. Raised in Huntingdon Valley and now based out of Pitman, New Jersey, Ager has never given up the muse, even as he pursued personal and professional goals. Between teaching German classes at La Salle University and raising a three-year-old son with his beautiful wife, Jason still plays more than 100 shows a year in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Recently he’s been getting on bigger and bigger stages, including an opening slot for Donavon Frankenreiter at World Café Live last year.
Ager’s musical style is rooted in R&B, rock, and hip-hop influences. Simple melodies are enhanced by precision timing and delivery, with rapid-fire verses leading into raw hooks that will stick in your ear. Careful listeners are rewarded with clever, self-deprecating stories of love, anxiety, and social conscience. Ager’s songs stimulate the mind and stir the soul, and his slick stage banter is always good for a chuckle.
Soul is really what Porchlight is all about. From the upbeat title track to the emotional “Everybody Needs Love”, the album has heart and verve to spare. Tracks like “Sugar Mama” add extra instrumentation to detour into a ragtime feel, and “Overload” explores the idea of being overwhelmed by technology, but every song works together to create a unique musical identity.
I had a chance to conduct a video interview with Jason as he played his regular afternoon set at John and Peter’s in New Hope last week. Take a look at the video below to get a feel for the songs and hear Jason describe his art in his own words. Next up for Ager is a show at Triumph Brewing in New Hope on Friday, January 22, opening for the excellent Jeremiah Tall. Keep up on all his tour dates at www.jasonager.com.