Call Me Maybe: Presenting The JB Music Hotline

Added on by Jared Bartman.

Hello! Today I’m embarking on a new social media experiment for my music project; the Jared Bartman Music Hotline!

I've been wanting to do something to keep people engaged with my musical happenings while I'm holed up working on a record this year and not playing shows regularly. And here it is!

But let me explain.

I struggle with social media, especially when using it to promote my music project. How do I promote my artistic pursuits without sounding like an egomaniac? How do I express myself freely and not make people think I’m a liberal atheist nut?

Rather than answer these questions, I’ve often simply retreated to the less-populated Hinterlands of new social media platforms where I can be strange and crass to a small amount of friends with relative impunity. My go-to has been Instagram, until lots of people started catching on to that, and the Wild West feeling of the platform quickly dissipated.

I long for an intimate setting, where just my friends, music fans, various government agencies, and several multinational corporations can keep up with my life and musical happenings.

Like the Puritans, Mormons, and Bundys of the Great American Frontier, I long for open vistas and vast prairies where I can be myself, without feeling like I need to tone down my social media presence in order for everything I say to be equally palatable to every person I’ve ever met in my entire life (okay, maybe not every person I’ve ever met, but I am an Incredibly Popular Guy and have 1,528 F-Book friends as of this writing).

So anyway. Here’s the deal on the Hotline.

I created this phone number: 844-644-3952

Yes, I did in fact buy a vanity phone number that reads 844-OHHEYJB.

You, my friend and/or Loyal Fan, will call this number Every Day, and the call will (usually) go straight to voicemail. The voicemail greeting mini-podcast will be updated daily by yours truly. This will be somewhat brief and off-the-cuff greeting to ensure that I will actually do this on a daily basis.

In that greeting I may update you on what I’m doing at that moment (i.e. recording a Hit Record, holding a baby, exercising, etc).

I may preview newly recorded music.

I may regale you with a Live Performance.

I may ask you, my Loyal Fans, a question and ask you to respond via text or voicemail so that I can post the results on the following day.

I may read you a selection of poetry or world news.

I may subject you to "Boys 'Round Here" by Blake Shelton, a song I truly love to hate. 

You just never know, which is why you’ll want to take a minute or two out of every day to call the JB Hotline.

I like to think of it as a combination of a podcast that can only be access via phone, which is limited in size and scope ( à la Twitter) by the mp3 size I can upload to my voice greeting service.

And I truly encourage you to call literally at any hour of the day and even leave voice messages. I will listen to all, and may even respond. Tell me how much you love my music, or tell me what a douche you think I am! Either way I will be truly delighted that you took time out of your day to call the hotline.

The great thing about a hotline is in no way a barometer of popularity like F-Book and Twitter. There is no follower count. None of you will ever know how many people (if any) are actually calling the hotline.

And most importantly, I will delight in creating ridiculous hotline voice greetings regardless of whether anyone pays attention.

…Which, incidentally, coincides with my innate feelings on writing/recording my music.

In our modern screen-addicted climate, a phone hotline feels very “analog” and curiously fresh to me, though it is in truth about the oldest and most basic business tool ever invented.

So there you are. The JB MUSIC HOTLINE. Careless whispers and sweet, sweet nothings in your ear on the daily from your friend, Jared Bartman!

CALL TODAY. Operators are standing by. 

Best of 2015

Added on by Jared Bartman.

My end-of-year best records list is probably the same as everyone else's. However, here are 11 (because I couldn't eliminate any of them to an even 10) of my favorite books that I read or listened to beautifully narrated recordings of in 2015, most of which were not written in 2015, in no particular order:

Howard Zinn, "A People's History of the United States"
Jeffrey Eugenides, "Middlesex"
Ian Macdonald, "Revolution In The Head: The Beatles Records and the Sixties"
Raymond Chandler, "The Big Sleep"
Haruki Murakami, "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle"
Haruki Murakami, "1Q84"
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, "Love in the Time of Cholera"
Ian Svenonius, "Supernatural Strategies for making a Rock 'n' Roll Group"
Miguel de Cervantes, "Don Quixote"
Jonathan Franzen, "Purity"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Complete Sherlock Holmes"

Happy reading.

Added on by Jared Bartman.

Good morning! I haven't had much news to report lately. I apologize. I've been too much enjoying sitting in my basement and working up my next record. 

More shows and news and whatnot in earnest whenever LP3 nears completion. It may be a while...

Take care until then,

2014 in Books

Added on by Jared Bartman.

Here are ten books I read and loved in 2014, in no particular order:

Leo Tolstoy, "Anna Karenina"
John Darnielle, "Wolf In White Van"
Roberto Bolaño, "Woes of the True Policeman"
Javier Marías, "A Heart So White"
Junot Díaz, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao"
Michael Chabon, "The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay"
Vladimir Nabokov, "Lolita"
Mason Currey, "Daily Rituals: How Artists Work"
James W. Loewen, "Lies My Teacher Told Me"
Christopher Hitchens, "God Is Not Great"

Constellation "I Hear Voices" Takeaway Show Video

Added on by Jared Bartman.

Good Morning,
Here's a video of me performing Son House's "Grinnin' In Your Face" live a few weeks ago for the Chicago venue Constellation's monthly "I Hear Voices" singer-songwriter series. "Grinnin'" is a longtime staple of my live set. Also, I have a studio recording of "Grinnin'" which was produced by Scott Solter in 2010 that you can listen to HERE. 



Frontier Psychiatrist

Added on by Jared Bartman.

Hey there,

The nice people at Frontier Psychiatrist posted a feature about my music on their website today. See the article HERE for some info on my past work and what I'm up to now. Thanks to Stuart Ross for the interviewing and writing!

I'm Still Here

Added on by Jared Bartman.


I thought I would check in to let you know what I've been up to lately. I've sort of been laying low on playing shows this year because I've developed some bad reflux problems in that past six months or so that have really been messing with my voice. I go hoarse very quickly in my performances despite all attempts to conserve my voice. 

So I'm figuring through the aid of Modern Medicine, and I'm also slowly trying to rework my vocal technique in favor of a more healthy approach to singing.

Not being able to sustain your voice when you want to make a living as a singer is a bummer. It's sort of like that episode of Happy Days when the Fonz thinks he's allergic to girls, for every time the Fonz gets near a girl he starts sneezing violently. When all seems hopeless for the Fonz, Richie Cunningham cleverly utilizes the Scientific Method to deduce that the Fonz is actually allergic to the combination of a certain aftershave and a perfume the Fonz gives all his lady-friends. Or something like that.

I recall there being a moment of heightened drama in the climx of that episode where the Fonz's future as a creepy older dude who hits on high school girls seems to hang in the balance. The Fonz speculates upon a monastic, cloistered future as a mendicant who abjures babes in favor of the life of the mind, a meditative existence devoted to the renunciation of material attachments and the destruction of the id.

But in the end Science prevails for the Fonz, as it will hopefully prevail for me.

In the meantime I'm working on material for the next record. I'm excited about the songs I'm working on so far, but it will probably be a while until I have another record ready to go. 

My wife and I also spent most of the summer preparing to sell our house in Peoria, IL. We closed our sale a couple weeks ago, and we're living in a temporary rental house in Peoria until we figure out our next plans. We'll be undergoing some sort of major move this fall. More details on that soon.

Be well,

Rooftop Sessions Chicago

Added on by Jared Bartman.

The fine people at Rooftop Sessions Chicago filmed Stephanie and I performing my song "Quiet And Still" (from Two Poems) while taking a stroll through the palms and exotic flowers of the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago one beautiful Sunday morning in May. The Rooftop Sessions crew are such a kind bunch and a real joy to work with! Thanks so much to them. You can watch the first of our two videos below.

The words of "Quiet And Still" were composed by Maggie Beneke and were set to music by me.

No news/good news

Added on by Jared Bartman.

Hey there. I'm obviously not very good at maintaining this news page, but I thought I'd check in to say hello. Not much to report here except that I'll be playing various one-off shows around the Midwest throughout 2014 while I'll work on songs for the next record. I'll also be living the day-job dream to keep the lights on and to repay the prohibitive amount of debt accrued from making my last record.

Here's hoping 2015 will bring more shows and more record-making and less debt. 

Please check the shows page for all of my performance dates. Keep an eye out for the occasional live music video, as well.

Take care,

Vocalo Interview

Added on by Jared Bartman.

Earlier this fall, Jesse Menendez from 90.7FM Vocalo in Chicago interviewed me about Misery Makes Strange Bedfellows. Here's the interview, as I forgot to post about it earlier. Jesse asked a lot of great questions, and it was real treat to talk with him and play some music at Vocalo! 


Added on by Jared Bartman.

I realize it's not really cool for artists to comment on the business/infrastructure side of their musical endeavors, but I just want to mentioned that I'm excited to start working with TR Agency for all my show bookings from here on out. 

I've booked numerous one-off shows and nine tours for myself since I started this solo project more-or-less officially in 2007, and I'm really looking forward to some help on that front. 

Booking shows is really hard work! Don't let anyone tell you differently. Let's all take a moment of silence here to dwell on the efforts of the booking agents who are quietly but painstakingly routing your favorite bands all around the world day in and day out. 

So keep on the lookout for more shows and tours from me in 2014 as I put Misery Makes Strange Bedfellows to bed and start writing for the next record!

Misery Inspiration Mix

Added on by Jared Bartman.

Here's a Spotify mix of some of the songs I was listening to a lot when I was writing Misery Makes Strange Bedfellows. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Happy New Year!

Garden Gate Demo

Added on by Jared Bartman.

It's been a little over a year since I wrote the song "Garden Gate", which was included on my new album Misery Makes Strange Bedfellows. I wrote the song from top to bottom in one very long, exciting, and productive day, and also recorded a demo, which I will share with you here. 

The overall lyrical content and song structure is the same here as on the final album version, but there are a variety of differences in arrangement choices. While I greatly prefer the album version to this demo, I think it's fun to see how a song progresses from its inception to the final version.

The final version replaced the looped percussion battery for an animated drum set and roto tom performance by Andrew Hiller. The extra "ooh" backing vocals were traded out in favor of string quartet, arranged by Hamilton Berry and I and performed by Eric Pidluski, Jenna Ferdon, Geeta Abad, Alyssa Pryzgoda, and Charles Spurgeon. The normal acoustic guitar sound was exchanged for treated and key-gated guitar sounds and landscapes masterminded by Scott Solter, which we then doubled with piano with electric tape on the keys. Then came a very nuanced bassline by Per Ellingson, and some extra backing harmonies by Stephanie and I.

However; strip all the studio sounds away and it still sounds like a song!

Fall Tour! New Record!

Added on by Jared Bartman.

My fall tour starts tomorrow, starting with a very cool show at the Apollo Theater in Peoria, IL with John Vanderslice and Samantha Crain. It's my record release show!

Check my list of fall tour dates to see if I'll be in your area. I'm bringing a fantastic band featuring Per Ellingson (of Dirty Gentlemen and Glittermouse), Steve Plock (of Santah), and Jeremy Quentin (of Small Houses). We would love to see you on the road!

I'll be selling my brand new full-length record Misery Makes Strange Bedfellows  at all my shows on tour. I some very cool screen-printed t-shirts and albums from my back catalog. 

Here's some early press on MMSB .
Death and Taxes
Violent Success
Music For Ants

See you out there!