These days, artists from coast to coast are flocking to Nashville to find inspiration and ride the town’s increasingly broad musical wave. Singer/songwriter Courtney Jaye, however decided to leave her longtime Tennessee home for where there are actual waves: Los Angeles. It was there that Jaye cemented her partnership with Zach Schwartz (aka Zach Rogue, of San Francisco’s Rogue Wave) to form the duo Rogue + Jaye. Their debut, Pent Up, is due in 2017, and the collaboration will tap into Jaye’s gorgeously powerful pop vocals, Schwartz’s penchant for dreamy melodies and the way that, together, it all melds into something as informed by Belle and Sebastian and Mazzy Star as it is Ingrid Michelson. Their first single, “Forces of Decay,” premiering on Rolling Stone Country, is a lush duet with percussion that hints at Jaye’s love for tropical sonic palates and Americana that even Taylor Swift could get behind. Listen below.
“‘Forces of Decay, is about intimacy with another person protecting you from the chaos outside the door,” Jaye tells Rolling Stone Country. “The world, now more than ever, seems to be a dark and confusing place. But you can build an insular world that no one can touch when you have love in your life. [Rogue + Jaye] is a non-traditional pairing and I think the reason it works so well is because we both have great respect for each other and push one another to go out of our comfort zones. It’s been a musical give and take, so to speak, but finding that middle ground and ultimately creating something that we both love and can get behind.”
Rogue + Jaye first collaborated during a 2013 songwriting session, but didn’t see it cement into a full-length album project until now. Jaye, who released her last LP, the Mike Wrucke (Miranda Lambert)-produced Love and Forgiveness the same year, moved to Los Angeles not just in search of the ocean and a stronger connection to her beloved Hawaiian melodies, but to distance herself from having to identify with any particular genre. “I’ve never been a traditional pop, Americana, or country artist,” she says, “and living out west right now represents for me the freedom to be untethered to one particular musical sound, scene, or genre. And I feel this project is an extension of that.”
Rogue Wave, Schwartz’s primary outfit, released Delusions of Grand Fur this year and also contributed a track to 30 Days, 30 Songs, Dave Eggers’ anti-Trump compilation. Rogue + Jaye is a side project that will allow him to meld his – and, now, Jaye’s – hazy West coast palate with solid acoustic roots that could have only been formed down south. “I think both [Nashville and Los Angeles] will always feel like a home to me and will forever occupy equal space in my heart and equal influence over my music and sound, ” says Jaye. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I move back and forth between Nashville and California for the rest of my life.”