Pin It
Favorite

The Curious Case of Jason Webley 

Jason Webley’s path has taken him from performing on the streets to touring the country in a tomato car

click to enlarge art15577.jpg

Jason Webley started out more than a decade ago busking on the streets of Seattle. His instrument of choice? Accordion.

An unusual career choice, but his theatrical street performances put him on an interesting path — one that’s led him to rub elbows with the in-crowds of literature and music. Figures like sci-fi/fantasy novelist Neil Gaiman, who Webley claims to have introduced to Amanda Palmer — Gaiman’s now-fiancée — the occasional Dresden Doll and Webley’s recent collaborator on a concept album called Evelyn Evelyn.

Webley — who released his first album, Viaje, in 1998, and toured peripatetically by Greyhound — has feigned his own death and rebirth, organized tomato-themed tours (he once toured in a Toyota Corolla transformed into a tomato car) and breathed new life into the accordion as a mainstream instrument through his annual Monsters of Accordion tour and as the opening act for the Dresden Dolls.

None of it seems to surprise Webley, though. “Life is full of lots of weird coincidences,” he says. “My life is filled with much stranger ones, though many of them are more personal. Most of my stories are long, labyrinthine things.”

Palmer, Webley’s collaborator, has described the Dresden Dolls as “Brechtian punk cabaret” — another coincidence. Webley first picked up the accordion during a college production of Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Since then, theatricality has been a large part of his whole persona, though he says it’s hardly intentional.

“I don’t really think of things in terms of whether something’s theatrical or not,” he says. “I get ideas and do them.” Those ideas have turned out to be the points that simply plot his trajectory from Seattle’s streets regular collaborative efforts, earning him an incredibly devoted following and tour dates nationwide.

“I don’t feel very far from [the busking days],” Webley says. “In some respects, I’m surprised by how surreal my life is, but I felt that way back then, too. I don’t play on the street anymore, because doing that is a type of exhaustion I’m not up to these days, but I’m still living mostly the same lifestyle. And probably will be for some while.”

Jason Webley plays with Buster Blue Folk and the City We Live In at A Club on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 7pm. Tickets: $10- $12. All-ages. Call 991-2470.

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Music

  • Play On
  • Play On

    Years after they were crafted, vintage and antique instruments still have their place in Spokane
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • The Wild Bunch
  • The Wild Bunch

    Brooklyn's Guerilla Toss comes to the West Coast for the first time
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Feminist First
  • Feminist First

    Through her music, Dolly Parton has always shown women how to stay strong
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Kongos, the Joy Formidable

Kongos, the Joy Formidable @ Knitting Factory

Tue., Sept. 27, 8:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by E.J. Iannelli

  • Finding Solid Footing
  • Finding Solid Footing

    Local radio personality Molly Allen has written a new play about ending and mending relationships
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • THEATER | <i>Beauty and the Beast</i>
  • THEATER | Beauty and the Beast

    A Disney classic comes to life on stage
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Spellbound
  • Spellbound

    The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has laughter, tears and audience participation
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Feminist First

    Through her music, Dolly Parton has always shown women how to stay strong
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Art of the Deal

    Local indie labels offer artists another marketing option, but not everyone is convinced they're necessary
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

COUNTRY


Readers also liked…

  • Moving On
  • Moving On

    Simba and the Exceptional Africans continue to sing and dance after tragedy hits home
    • Feb 18, 2015
  • Loosen Up
  • Loosen Up

    A songwriting game helped the Helio Sequence relax on their latest record
    • May 5, 2016

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation