“It’s rock – with some mandolin.”
Though it’s virtually impossible to classify the unique sound of The Roosevelts, this statement by guitarist Jason Kloess certainly tells part of the story. As one half of the electric duo along with singer James Mason, the two brothers in song – not blood, though maybe beards – have been playing together for years and cultivating a sound that’s a little indie-folk, a little bit alt-country, and a little bit bluesy rock. Sure, there’s some mandolin in there. But most importantly, it’s just heartfelt, genuine music that belongs to them alone, not any genre.
Kloess, who had begun his musical journey on piano, and Mason, who “caught the bug” in high school, bonded in Austin over a mutual love of the same influences: the songwriting of James Taylor, the keen lyricism of Ryan Adams, the heartfelt soul of Joe Cocker. Their collection of songs showcases their strengths as a unit: smart, soulful grooves with crisp harmonies and sweetly infectious refrains that could fill living rooms just as easily as stadiums.
But The Roosevelts actually almost never came to be. Mason was ready to pursue a career in medicine, pondering graduate school after working as a medic on ambulances, and Kloess was developing a career in Austin’s tech start-up community. With heavy encouragement from fellow musicians and friends, Kloess and Mason set aside their original paths to make way for The Roosevelts.
“The hardest part of letting go of medicine for music, was the loss of the sensation that I was actually helping people,” Mason says. “Although I’m not saving lives with music, I have found that this platform actually allows me to connect with people on a deeper level – and that can be healing. Relationships are the inspiration behind most of our
songs, and of course, some of the easiest relationships to write about are romantic ones. But the inspiration is not always romantic. It’s about connecting with people.”
“We hope our music will break your heart and make you shout for joy, all at the same time,” says Kloess. And it certainly will. They’ve followed their natural inclination to write songs that tap into pure emotion, shaped with jubilant musicianship and introspective lyrics. And they’ve built a devoted fan base along the way – a fan base that Mason and Kloess often make sure to chat with on a first-name basis out in the crowd as much as from the stage.
For their fans, the healing comes in the music – cathartic, joyful, full of life and light. It’s unique, it’s The Roosevelts, it’s rock – with some mandolin.