You Don't Know Jack (Blog)

Scott Whitehouse On Finishing Unsung Hero 

December 19th, 2016 11:42PM 

I just walked out of Gold Smith Studios to conclude our final mixing session for our upcoming full length album, Unsung Hero. This work has been a culmination of a lot of different musics and peoples over a vast timeline. There are a lot of tracks so we will be releasing our works as two separate albums. We feel this is the optimal way to give you our very best and still get this music out soon… Plus it’s just two separate albums. Like it SOUNDS like two completely separate albums. 

Thank you to everyone who has been a part this process, large or small. In the end, it turned out we needed every bit of energy and aid we were offered. The aspirations, talent and ideas that have shaped this album are much greater than anything I could have created individually. The heart of this beast comes in multiples and is overwhelming. Nicholas Layman has lead us to be as fearless and ambitious in studio as we are live. The irony of this being the album really doesn’t sound like JHW’s live performances and I think that is one of my favorite things about it. We all believe that the things we would like to challenge and display on a studio album are drastically different than the live show mirror of those same goals. The album has never tried to be a knock off of our gig routine and tricks. It’s a bigger and more bizarre entity entirely 

We will be releasing Unsung Hero in early 2017. We will be announcing the release date of said full length, singles, and shows even earlier in 2017. Done. Finished. Weight off my shoulders. Walk into the sunset. Meet an Alien Princess. 

Scott Winston Whitehouse

The Final Stretch, Questions Answered on Unsung Hero Album 

We are hard at work finishing this album, and the time of completion is finally upon us.  December will be our last month of recording. I would like to thank the staff at both Gold Smith Studio and Sneak Attack for their help in this process. I would especially like to thank our sound engineers, Nicholas Lamen and Eric Myers. They have and will continue to make this album wonderful. This project would not have been possible with out them. There have been a lot of people to track on this record, far more than I could possibly count without notes in front of me. However, I know we passed the four drummers and bass players mark. All of the orchestrations auxiliary, and rhythm sections parts sound phenomenal. It is a large team that has made this possible, and I could not have done it without each and every person that was willing to lend their time and talents. Here’s a quick break down.
The dream was real and undying for all of us. The album had to be that and nothing short of it. We did not sacrifice string sections, horn parts, or precision for anything. I do not regret a single moment of our a time spent… There are very few moments I regret.
Tough call. We will be releasing a single from the album in late January/ early February, and there will be a few listening parties on the east coast, but the official release date has not been finalized yet.
There are two more songs that need tracking, and strings must be added to a few songs. It is mostly mixing and thinking about mixing, and then more mixing. Then deciding we really did mix that one song right which leads to more mixing. Eventually we will take a break from mixing as to rest our ears in preparation for more mixing. There are a mass amount of moving parts on this album. Hence the special love to Eric and Nick at the beginning of this post.
Distraction, Straight Down the Whole, S E Lapp, and Cassandra Lee are all on the full length album. They are new recordings, and definitely not the mixes from the old EP’s. This is a good thing. The new mixes are killer. They sound like John McClane going Super Saiyan.
A lot, and you should listen to all of them :P
Yes, it is the first of four. It is one of the more abstract albums to follow out of the JHW story line, but it is definitely a concept album. Some characters from the first album come into play in the second album, and everything trippy is trippy for a reason. There are many brief tracks of dialogues and monologues that are important to the story as well. It’s a blast. More details on the story related aspects will be posted after the album is released. I really don’t want to give anything away before we release it. That would ruin the fun for everyone.
It’s all in the story, I promise.
Owning and renting are two different things.
On behalf of every member of this group, I can comfortably say we are all excited about getting this album out. It is time. Are you ready?

Unsung Hero
The First installment in the Jack Holiday & The Westerners Sci Fi Rock Opera
Coming 2016

Scott Whitehouse

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego... I mean JHW 

There have been a lot of questions and assumptions spreading about the current status of JHW. Many think we’re six feet under, some think we’re on the road, and a few even believe the group has relocated to Iceland. Because of this, I’ve decided to make one statement before the new line up and event announcements.The lack of information is in many ways intentional. I made a hard decision in May to keep things under wrap until all the changes were finalized.  The group has been working on the album during this time. The studio line up includes many familiar faces and many new players as well. The whole experience has been a blast. Though we are still doing a lot of the horn and string section recordings at Sneak Attack in Lexington, we are doing just as much recording right here in Louisville at Goldsmith studios.  Nick Lamen (BBoP) has been helping us take a confident direction in finishing and spicing many of the tracks. He is a champion of sonic laced weaponry and I am grateful to have him on our side.
            In regards to the live show, there have definitely been A LOT of changes. It is a roster that seems almost completely new. When I first made the decision in May to regroup, I was terrified. After the first week or two of open auditions and only being an “incomplete” band, I was convinced that JHW was going down a rough path with no pretty return. It wasn’t until the third week that we started meeting some really great musicians. A month in it seemed like the sky was the limit as my mind was racing with new combinations, styling, and arrangements that we were now capable of for the first time. I remember the exact day I specifically thought, “This is the best group of musicians I’ve played in. We sound surreal!” Aside from my star struck joy of the new members, this day was one to remember as it was the day JHW’s guitar player, Zach Groves shot himself in the leg with a hand gun… wait, what?!?! Yes, in my mind the day we were finally ready to take on the world, was the same day I had to cancel MONTHS worth of shows (and not take on the world,) because Zach accidently shot himself in the leg with a handgun.
            Do not worry, Zach will be able to walk again, and he is healing bit by bit everyday. From a musical perspective, this problem forced some drastic measures, but in a nutshell, everything has worked out ten fold better than I expected.
The new line up has done one test run in Paducah, and Paducah can attest to the raw power of the new team. It was quite possibly the most fun I’ve ever had during a live performance. The journey has been harsh, horrifying at times, but the end result has lead us to playing damn good music.
            The new line up will be announced at the end of the month along with the rest of the shows/ events for the year. I can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on.
It’s a ferocious roller coaster of precision and spirit.

Henry Pink 

As the future grows nearer,
I grow farther away. 
The boy who could dream of tomorrow,
becomes the man that thinks of today.
It's as if dying comes much earlier than death

As the tapping of hope grows stale, 
I examine another tool. 
The one once used for the grand chase,
is now used to prove the chaser a fool.
"I've got better things to do than you... 
Besides my shoes aren't the right size."

My feet have grown large and wooden, 
similar to my splintered nose.
My hands once made for melodies,
now my music excused, my fingers all stone.
"But It's all for the best once you see the big picture"

I like talking about my life
more than I like to feel.
Saying things like income taxes gives me a hard-on
until I realize income taxes are real.
Why is my identity tied up in circles?

In my off-time, I sit and wait
for the next crucial moment at steak.
The moments that die before we do. 
The ones we discard or fake,
unlike income taxes

"It's as if dying comes much earlier than death."

Kentucky Bands that are worth a Damn! 

This is by no means to say these are the only Kentucky Bands worth a damn. I just like rhyming and couldn't resist the title. Here are some musical groups Kentucky has brought upon the world that I dig. These are in no order what so ever

---------------------------------------------------- Ford Theatre Reunon 

FTR is a Lexington based… circus punk band? Take a carnival tone, composed of accordions, clarinets, eccentric personalities/ costumes galore, and shove it in a tiny yellow car that is speeding down the spectrum of music, going 100 mph.  It's also important to note, this tiny yellow car has the world’s best (and most compact) orgy going on its interior. Now blazing this one lane “road de music” in the opposite direction, we have a giant blood stained black van filled with blaring electric guitars, catchy base lines, and harmonically filled screams. Also, there is a fuck ton of drugs in this van. I mean it is a cliché rock’n’roll paradise.  The splatter effect of those two vehicles crashing creates a colossal explosion reminiscent of sex, drugs, rock’n’roll, and carnivale themed joy. As that is happening, we see the deceased souls from this catastrophic, yet harmonic, event embodied as cartoon like white ghosts floating up towards the heavens. They are singing their final song as they float up to the heavens in an oddly comedic fashion. That image is what Ford Theatre Reunion sounds like. 

Crucial Side Note: The bass player of FTR (Luke) is quite possibly the most trendy man to ever exist in all of humanity.  

----------------------------------------------------- Black Birds of Paradise

If FTR teaches you to appreciate accordion, BBP teaches you to get down with the vibraphone. A band to cool for school, BBP is a Louisville band with apparent 70’s inspiration but they have their own unique formula for applying such retro- day dreams to their style. They don’t sound like a classic rock band, or even a Louisville band for that matter. They sound like a bunch of talented friends got together and said, “You know what would be fun to do. Start a band that sounds like this.” Though the group address was no more specific than that, it made perfect sense to the like-minded (possibly telekinetic) pals, and that’s how 70’s inspired, vibraphone equipped, modern molded, Black Birds of Paradise was born… Well it’s how they were born if you just let this guy make up all the details and butcher all the facts. The end result is lyrically driven, reverb vibrant songs that make you feel that you’re tripping acid while watching the Wii shopping channel, and sometimes make you think there is an army of sharply dressed, toe tapping choir men trying to kindly invade your mind with stories against the status quo… maybe there against the status quo, or maybe that’s just the acid from the Wii channel talking.

------------------------------------------------------ The Tunesmiths

Are you hungry for some Indi as hell blues rock? You want a whiskey drinking, Kentucky band that doesn’t ever get blue grass? Check out The Tunesmiths. This band is like a boxer that has been relentlessly training on the fundamentals. Their presence is intimidating, and man does their punch pack a wallop! The Tunesmiths are tight, aggressive, and they know what they want to throw down. On top of this, Daniel Jackson is one of the most powerful front men you will ever see in your life. The man has a voice that will knock you on your ass, and jive talk that will make you want to cling on to every word he says in between songs. Reminiscent   of Otis Redding, Daniel hits this Louisville inspired band’s lyrics out of the park, while Bryce, Don, and Cal lets know what a rock’n’roll solid knockout punch feels like.

-------------------------------------------------------- Bear Medicine

Bear Medicine will these smoke filled dark fables into your mind. You want to be happy about these stories but the closer you listen to the lyrics you realize its like a far away light. Aside from the fact you'll be craving a lyric booklet for these guys asap. The instrumentation is quite warm and gentle. Sporting Flute, Cello, a warm finger plucked guitar and drums this band feels more like listening music at first, but do not be fooled. The drums will drive this bus to places you would never imagine, turning slow driven ballads into head nodding stand up songs, or even somethings to the point of dance. Bear Medicine is one of the very few bands I've ever heard of that has a legitimate arch-nemesis as well. Bear Medicine is a constant struggle against their evil counter-band, Whale Medicine, but I can't discuss too much about that anti-music aqua-rock quintet without taking on a full article. Check out Bear Medicine.

----------------------------------------------------------- White Knight

Owensboro is not big enough for these cool cats. White Knight consists of a bunch of guys who have had nothing else to do other than hang out and listen to music. I mean it is mind blowing how much these guys know about rock music through the generations. They know what they like and it’s obvious when you listen to their songs. This is a highly well-rehearsed group of rock musicians that love prog-rock, slick transitions, and solid jams. Out of every band I’ve ever heard from Kentucky, they bar none have both the most songs in their play book and they are the somehow also the most rock steady on every single one of them.

HONORABLE MENTIONS…my hand is tired… so you will get no additional information.

Been to The Gallows

​The Dirty Grindstones

Ultra Pulverize

Opossum Holler

- Scott W.


Words of thanks. 

"Each life has its own beat, moving through space at its own pace, standing still for no one, and yet you, as if not caring, though knowing how precious it was to you, gave to me selflessly, life's most precious possession, your time..." - Stevie Wonder, from "Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants"

The Greatest Irony of Music: A Look at Musical Nature. 

    Music is the only universal language. Just like any other popular language, there will always be unique dialects from places far away that will lead to some confusion, but the core emotions of the musical speaker will almost always ring true. Unlike the other forms of popular communication, music demands no knowledge of its vocabulary from the listener. No matter where you live or what you know, a ballad is slow, a minor chord is generally sad, and a moving bass line hits you in the hips. Another unique trait of music is how naturally it is universal. It is not universal because everyone is forced to learn it. It is because even if you know absolutely nothing about music, it can still speak with you. What language can you say such a sentence about? If you only speak English, trying to read a book in French is most likely nothing more than an exercise in futility. Juxtapose this french book hypothetical with a non-trained ear listening to an album for the first time. Only communication through the arts can accomplish such a feat of transcription and only the subconscious understanding of music can surpass so much cultural confusion.       
    When you are constructing your sound driven "point," aside the sentence like melodies and harmonic phrasings that go along with it, your guidelines become very similar to those of a spoken language's. The emotions that are most universally translatable within expression are such because they're widely excepted cliches. The sentence, "The moon was beautiful and the girl was beautiful too," is going to inevitably sound cheesy. It will remind us through its bland phrasing and poor word choice how cheesy those two ideas really are. Without the molding of view and style, a sentence has no art. Through the use of phrasing and personalization we can turn these points into something much stronger.
    "Oh May, Oh May
Sweet Daughter May, 
the only one who stays 
up in the room, 
under the moon, 
that only she can illuminate."
    It is when we begin to alter cliches with personal view and experience that it becomes art. We must flush the idea with individualized intimacy, thus making the cliche an agreed middle ground between the creator and the listener, not an end result. This allows us to express to the listener our own personal views laid on top of feelings that have been inscribed in Man for centuries. In this formula, Music's universal principle is shown.

Listener -> 
Portrayal of generalized emotion(s) -> 
Artist's personalization -> 
Universal communicative property of music.
    Obviously not all music related points are universal. Specific details will forever be lost due to this emotion driven style of speech. It will always be more difficult than it's worth to ask where the bathroom is with an instrumental mandolin piece (though perhaps a great idea for some good laughs.) Also, ideas such as songs that ironically or sarcastically put sad melodies on happy lyrics or vise versa will not carry through very well. These are apparent points that I feel could be viewed as semantics when examining the nature of music. Especially since these problems all derive from the application of a spoken language on top of musical grounds, and not the nature of music itself.
    To say that you do not need any relative knowledge to judge music is not to say that it has no value. You do not need shoes to go running on the street, but step on something sharp and I'm sure you'll want the benefit of footwear next time around. Though nowhere near as painful as my example, music falls under a similar category. There are definitely numerous elements that can be easily overlooked, or under appreciated without some form of training. To use the common language example again, the grace of sentence structure, emphatic punctuation, and high brow word driven symbolism in a dense novel would not be apparent to someone on an elementary school reading level. This potential weight of knowledge can be applied in the interpretation of the "Artist's Personalization" step to better understand why the specific musician is speaking to you so well... Or why he is not for that matter. By no means is it useless to commit hours upon hours to practicing scales, studying music theory, or having an intense listening to an artist to better understand his voice. However, specific to music, this knowledge seems to come with a dangerous risk. 
    This musical knowledge can consume you, obsess you, and steel your every waking thought with its fascinating vibrant shapes and colors. To some, even the way it feels under their finger tips can be irreplaceable. It will give you great aspiration to learn more. A yearning to apply new punctuation and word play to your musical sentences. The possibilities are limitless and the thrills are over whelming... Well it doesn't sound like there's anything wrong with that, right Scott? There's nothing wrong with getting more articulate and knowledgable about music... Of course there is nothing wrong with those specific factors! The problem is the greatest irony of music. It is derived within the "Portrayal of Generalized Emotion(s)" Though perhaps a difficult step to master, it is the easiest step to instantly apply to music. I mean it is the singular base reason that makes music universal as everyone understands it. Somehow people can get so caught up in the "Artist's Personalization" factor that they skip over this quintessential phase. Music quickly becomes lacking, and about the ability to play "better." It's like two english professors screaming in a room about who can write the better sentence while throwing punctuation at each other. It's the idealism of thinking that because you can write one hundred words into a single sentence you should do it every time. Counterproductive efforts  become a primary focus at this point. Music becomes selfish and greedy as these fallen grinches of technical obsession flex their fingers and bare their fangs while waiting to see if they can play a once romantic slow dance 45 BPMs faster than the last time they super bumped the speed. It's nothing more than stroking egos and it ceases to be art. It is now expressionless technical work, a soulless vocation of what once was the organic vibrations of passion. I remember a piano player once proudly announced in front of a room, "I can play any piece of music in this room, and I can do it blind folded" All I could think was, "but do you have anything to say? Jive talk is nothing but jive talk even if you sprinkle on all the bells and whistles." Where has the passion gone in these once proud representatives of the field? Where is the joy for making others feel, for a musician breathing in identical notes as his listener and knowing there is an interconnectivity of humanity within their unified exhale. If you just want to jerk off (even musically) why ever leave home? Why ever play for anyone?
    The greatest irony of music is how hard people can work, how obsessed players can become without remembering the most important step. If you've got nothing to say, you've got nothing to play. At best you've got a handful of semi-colons and to quote Kurt Vonnegut, "Fuck Semicolons." 

-Scott W. 

2014: Louisville's Year to Shine 

A while ago I went to the "Cropped Out" music festival and I had the great fortune of having a solid conversation with the one and only camera equipped adventurer, Marty Pearl. Marty and I shot the shit on many different subjects, but what really stuck with me was his thoughts on the future of Louisville's music scene.
        It is no surprise to any musician or regular concert attendee that Louisville is a harsh place to play music these days. Many musician friends of mine that live outside of this city even cringe at the thought of trying to do a serious run of shows here. The problem is simple. There's 101 venues, even more musicians and groups, and everyone. everything is trying to go in a seperate direction. The ammount of sonic laced "Boom" that has been driven into this town has put it into complete and total chaos. A band can advertise for weeks and still play for a handful of people, or have a tab that easily exceeds one's profits for the night. On top of this general state, there's new venues and bands popping up every day. It would practically be a full time job just to keep up with what's going on in Louisville.
              I would be lying if I said that I've never grown bitter in regards to these difficulties. If you don't have the right people backing you, it feels far to easy to drown in such depths, but Marty lifted a bit of that burden through our conversation. He invited me to look at a bigger picture. Louisville has had a huge musical figure for a while now. It was just more controlled in the nineties, but also more specific. It was thriving and scene oriented, and as those scenes went on the decline, there was far too many different things trying to fill the void. Thus the uncontrollable merciless Behomoth that is playing music in Louisville was birthed, but just like any scenario, people adapt. Marty assured me that the monster was becoming more tame and accesible and that the next five or so years is going to be a continous and wonderful improvement. He told me things work in cycles and that the light is getting ready to be quite bright once again.
            As I hypothesize the nigh coming days of new and reflect on those of old, I really think this will be the case. People have grown hungry through this deprivation of finding the place to hear the band, and knowing when and where to go. Finding supporters gets easier day by day. Finding out where and who you want to hear is easier than ever. On top of that, people seem to want the excentric juxtaposition of Louisville sounds. Genre-less bills are becoming quite popular. From these past struggles, I finally see groups that deserve credit actuatlly gaining it around town. I see diverse people interacting and creating fearless new things as musical clicks are less divided than ever before. I see venues evolving into musical havens, and I've never been this excitied for so many local and regional albums to drop.

I have no doubt the game is changing and I'm so excited to see what it's getting ready to evolve into... I hope it's a Charizard with a a triple necked guitar.

-Scott W.


Upcoming events 

Hey everyone, I bring news from the Western Front! It is rumored that JHW is going to be touring the region! Bowling Green, Frankfort, Lexington, Cincinnati, Owensborough, Indiana, Ohio, Tenessee!!! Residents in these areas are warned to guard their chocolate pies and hot dogs, because Jack Holiday & The Westerners are on the move.


A little Tuesday Blurb 

First of all a huge thank you to everyone that made our Headliner's Halloween show a success!!! We could not have put on such an awesome show without you! The band is taking a little break from practice, but the gears are still turning here at JHW central. We have a music video in the works and an album to record! We will be updating this page with some pictures and videos from the show. Stay tuned and make sure to chec out our mailing list for all the inside details.