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Music / Jason Webley

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Jason Webley (born June 1, 1974) is a musician who began as a busker, playing accordion in the streets of Seattle, but has since moved indoors and on stage, playing venues and festivals all across the world. His music is a combination of folk, gypsy, punk, and sea shanties.

Webley is characterized also by a mix of funny, sad, and in one case thoroughly scary songs. His tracks include instruments such as the accordion, guitar (acoustic and electric), harmonica, piano, marimba, and glockenspiel. His signature clothing is a porkpie hat and a black trench coat, which, from 2000-2004, he'd ritualistically burn every Halloween, where after a concert he'd lead his audience into a park where his head would be shaven, followed by him being put in a coffin and being driven off in a hearse, disappearing for six months, re-emerging either on Mayday or his birthday.

Another notable thing is that, in his youth, he ran off to join the circus...sort of. Rather, he went out into the world to busk on the streets for as long as his money would last him. That went rather well for him, apparently, as he has founded Eleven Records and has a five-album discography. Most of which is awesome, if you're into that sort of thing.

Together with Amanda Palmer, he discovered the twin singers Evelyn Evelyn, and has been touring with them for a while.

He has been compared to Tom Waits in style of music and appearance. Comparisons to Jacques Brel aren't entirely unwarranted, either (in a good way).

Tropes that feature in his works:

  • Apocalypse How: "Dance While The Sky Crashes Down", in a way that weirdly doesn't seem to fit any of the pre-described varieties, but it's certainly an apocalyptic song.
    • In fact, his entire first album "Against the Night" is described on his official website as "The soundtrack to a subtle apocalypse."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: This verse from "Music That Tears Itself Apart" probably qualifies:
    I'll roll the earth into a fag and smoke it
    Just after I've made love to the sky
    Have a little chat with time before I choke it
    And teach all the earthworms how to fly.
  • Audience Participation: From making people sing "Yaa-taa-dee-ya-ta-daa" at the top of their lungs over and over again, or spin wildly while looking at their raised index finger (to get them sufficiently disoriented and swaying for the "Drinking Song"), to leading everybody out into a park, or even for a swim on the beach, he knows how to entertain a crowd.
  • Beneath the Earth: "Mine"
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Some kind of romance, at least, in the tellingly titled "Little Sister".
  • Dark Reprise: "Again the Night" to "Against the Night". In it, the guitar and percussion parts from "Against the Night" are dropped, accordion made louder, and the lyrics made darker. See Soprano and Gravel below.
  • Pals With Satan: "Devil Be Good", possibly.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Both from Webley himself. Compare "Against The Night" and "Again The Night", in that order.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: "Last Song", but not in the conventional sense.