A Project 365 is when a person posts a new photo of themselves online every day for a year. O.B.’s Jefferson Jay, founder of the San Diego Musicians Collective, took the idea a step further.
Last Thanksgiving, Jay began posting three videos to YouTube each day: one original song (that he wrote), a cover song that he performs (usually on acoustic guitar), and a third video of a local musician performing, often filmed at one of Jay’s local songwriter showcases over the years.
“I started it to see what would happen. Would I finish? Would people care? Would I learn anything? I had no preconceived outcomes in my mind.... It’s kept me busy. That’s a large part of what I’ve got [from it] so far.”
In a nod to commercial marketing, Jay concedes the “cover” component was added in hopes that performing familiar songs might inspire browsers to look into his other work. Covers have so-far included sparse and frequently comedic versions of tunes such as “Dancing in the Dark” (Springsteen), “Ballad of a Thin Man” (Dylan), and “Lola” (the Kinks).
Formerly known as Brainstorm, the Jefferson Jay Band has a diverse lineup, ranging in age from Leanne Pearl, Jay’s 25-year-old girlfriend and drummer, to the Soul Man, the group’s 93-year-old percussionist. Jay, a Jersey native who moved to San Diego in 2000, also heads up a yearly Acoustic Evenings series at the La Jolla Athenaeum, about which he once wrote a thesis that helped earn him a degree in history at SDSU. He also plays with Greens of Mind.
His fifth CD, Gift to Be Alive, is set for release November 11, two weeks before Operation 365 wraps up on Thanksgiving Day. The clips can be viewed at youtube.com/jeffersonjaydotcom.