JukeBox County is the musical project of Rich Tyo– a psychotherapist, psychonaut, poet, DJ, and mental health advocate. Rich has a breadth of experience- running music groups in psych wards, writing songs with young adults recovering from their first episode of psychosis and publishing poetry in various anthologies. The artist gets inspiration from his experiences out on the streets working as a mental health crisis worker, developing music-based mental health programs for youth and adults, and being witness to life’s hardships.
Rich has also built grass-roots communities and scenes and curated art and music shows like Rock and Roll Revival (Ottawa, Ontario) and Midnight Magic Rodeo Show Kingston, Ontario). The name of Rich Tyo’s musical project is very meaningful. The Jukebox represents the wide spectrum of the human experience like what you’d see in a jukebox- blues, love songs, rock n roll, gospel and County is a place where we can come together and exist together in a grounded and optimistic fashion.
Jukebox County’s debut album was released on May 26, 2021 through Wolfe Island Records and produced by Hugh Christopher Brown. Drawing from influences such as Neil Young, Nick Drake, The Grateful Dead, Velvet Underground, and The Beatles, the album “Inner Space/ Outer Space” contains deep dialogues about what makes us human and how we cope with the questions that come with our existence. The music inspires hope, connection, introspection and joy. He teamed up with some amazing musicians from Wolfe Island and Kingston to create sounds that will inspire your body to move and your mind to explore the deeper realms of your being.
‘Jivin Jack and Sue’ is an indie pop-punk retro track steeped in nostalgia, optimism and the buzz of fresh summer love. This is one of the first songs that Rich ever wrote (about 13 years ago). The contagious groove will have you dancing by the first bar, with the smooth, swaggering vocals riding alongside a warm organ and stomping drums that sweep you up into the momentum of the song.
The lyrics tell the story of young love, adventure and the power of inspiration. Perhaps well-timed, the song hints at the need to let ourselves be taken into those naive spaces of fantasy and creativity in a world often taken to cynicism. The powerful force of music and love help transmute the darker scenes that we have witnessed. This song is a celebration of the people, music and states of mind that have supported Rich Tyo through tougher times in life and a message of hope and empowerment.
‘Jivin Jack n Sue’ was recorded by Hugh Christopher Brown. The song was recorded live off the floor with drums, bass, guitar and keys to get the feeling of it and to get the right melody for it. The vocals were over-dubbed and the artist steeped in it for a few months, taking the time to get the vocals just right. This helped him get deeper into the intention and the centred place of the music. Hugh’s technical and musical experiences compliments Tyo’s more inspired, amateur grass-roots aesthetic. The album also brings in Veteran bass player Jason Mercer, Pete Bowers on drums, Kevin Bowers on a dirty garage-rock guitar, and Teilhard Frost on percussion.
There are some obvious references to his influences in the song, as well as some clever lyrics that bring 90s nostalgia to mind; the song looks back while preparing to look ahead at what may be needed for the times at hand. It’s a song that reminds us of when we were living in the moment, times like being with a new love, traveling or being on an adventure. This feeling can be felt by being present in the moment, or listening to music that makes you nostalgic. The song also embraces positive changes within ourselves that align with our values and ethics. It embraces a rebellious attitude, yet with a grounded perspective that can bring people the hope they need in these strange times.
‘Jivin Jack and Sue’ is the third out of 10 songs in their ‘Inner Space Outer Space’ debut album. Each song has a bit of a different sound and deals with themes of connection, isolation, space travel, love, fitting in, and even things like xenophobia. The album brings listeners on a trip through a variety of musical genres, sceneries and imaginal spaces. Through storytelling, it takes listeners deeper into themselves in ways that inspire hope, joy and introspection.
In regards to his songwriting process, the artist said: “For Jivin’ Jack n Sue, the chords came first, which is a bit different from my other songs. I often hum a new melody and get the words out and then work out the guitar parts. The story came out easily as lyrics because I could really see the images in my mind as I wrote it. I was inspired by being in a new city and also by the values/archetypes of Truth, Justice and Rebellion”.
One of his favourite places to perform is collage-making parties at a local arts-run event space called the Artel. He loves intimate places, where people can dance, hang out with people and be inspired together. It’s important that the crowd is ready to dance, listen to the lyrics and get swept up by the atmosphere of the songs. He lets his emotions come out in his music, hence his lyrics evoke empathy in some way, putting the listener a little bit closer to the folks in the stories.
Jukebox County is open to collaborations with lesser known artists like Hugh Christopher Brown, Jason Mercer, David Corley and Joe Brownrigg but would also love to work with people like Neil Young, Sturgill Simpson, Ween or Anton Newcombe sometime in the future.
Social Media has been an important platform for him, especially during the pandemic. It allows him to be creative, writing intimate write-ups about why he makes music or what influences him. It provides an authentic connection with people because it is honest and sincere and it brings the music into a real context. He also finds it fun making videos and stories on his Instagram account as a way to move his creativity into new mediums. This has stimulated new ideas and ways to move forward in his music and art.
Jukebox County is currently working on a video for Jivin’ Jack n Sue and also getting started on a few new singles that will be released by the fall of 2021, so stay tuned!