Jason Wolf, born September 25, 1980 in Cincinnati, OH is a musician, singer and songwriter who plays Banjo, Dobro, Saw, Harmonica, Gourd, Upright Bass, Mandolin, and Pedal Steel. A founding member of RMB, "Wolfie" has a colorful past of influences and experiences which allow him to create some of the most innovative and original bluegrass around.
Born in Cincinnati, OH on September 25, 1980, Wolfie traces his original musical influences back to time spent driving through the Blue Ridge mountains while vacationing with his parents, listening to dozens of mix tapes, memorizing the lyrics, and joining his parents in singing along. Singing has been a passion ever since. Jason received his first instrument when he was just five years old and his brother gifted him a Smurf drum kit. As Jason grew older he experimented with the harmonica, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, all eventually leading some years later to his first Banjo.
After being expelled from high school Jason arrived home to discover a brand new Gibson Mastertone ESS banjo. At the time he did not play banjo, but his father told Jason of his grandfather's love for banjo music and, if he was willing to learn, he could keep this Cadillac of banjos. The banjo was so nice looking and sounded so sweet that Jason couldn't confess getting expelled from school lest he risk losing his new found prize.
Wolfie pretended to go to school for awhile just to keep the five string, eventually getting lessons and ultimately being found out-- though he was allowed to keep on with the Banjo. Vernon Mcyntire, son of the late great Steamboat Mcyntire (a southern Ohio favorite and a hell of a banjo picker), instructed him over the next year, teaching Jason all of the “vitals”. Wolfie to this day holds Vernon's banjo pickin' in the highest regard.
Jason lists a great number of musical influences-- starting with his parents introduction of doowop, early rock, country, Elton John, and Ray Charles; The Doors, Pink Floyd, and Zappa oozing out from under his brothers bedroom door; and falling asleep to the sounds of his sister's radio-- Lionel Ritchie, Michael Jackson, etc.. Wolfie's brother gave him his first tape-- Sgt. Peppers. From there he and his Banjo began exploring the music of Jerry Garcia, along with early Osborne brothers.
Early in Jason's teenage years he read a lot of poetry, wrote some, evolving to become more emotional with his writing, “I tried to start putting it all to music in any way possible-- some stuck, most didn't, but I always wrote more, and still do”. Influences like Shel Silverstein, Shakespeare, Poe, Oscar Wilde, Dylan Thomas, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Frost, some Ginsberg and of course Kerouac's books-- having been read many times over the years, up to the present day.
“One of the main reasons that I enjoy writing is reading, and listening to people like Bob Dylan, Irving Berlin, Woody Guthrie, the Carter family, Willie Nelson, and into my later years I am seeking inspiration from the writings of Tom Waits, Robert Hunter, David Bromberg, The McCoury's, Tim O Brien, and last but certainly not least John Hartford, my hero.”
Wolf's first band was called Schmuck and the Dyslexic Cheese Beavers. His next project was HOMESKILLET, an 8 piece band that eventually spawned Rumpke. You can still catch them on Thanksgiving in Cincy every year.
Wolfie plays a customized Bishline Midnight Moon Banjo built by Rob Bishline out of Tulsa, OK, a 1996 Gibson Mastertone Earl Scruggs Standard, a parlor sized martin guitar with finger picks, a 1977 Fender pedal steel guitar through a Fender Blues Jr amp, and a Morgan Monroe squareneck resonator. All running through Fishman pickups into Fishman amps (except the pedal steel), and Jason's most beloved effect, the power wah. Wolfie is a big fan of anything that makes noise, just catch one of his distortion jams for proof!
Jason has composed the following songs:
Cold Hearted Whine
Cool Mountain Air
Drink It Down
Fillin' My Cup
Home to Me
Miles to Memphis
Summer in the Country
We Howl at the Moon
Weary Restless Memories
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