Unplug and Unwind: Acoustic Pop Soul by Danika and The Jeb
“Get out of the online world and connect at the personal level,” says Jeb Hart.
“People are more isolated now in spite of social media, and we want to bring them together in community,” adds Danika Holmes. With two acoustic guitars and a piano, they will do just that on August 24 at the Grants Pass Museum of Art. This premiere location for fine art and music provides an intimate setting for the audience’s maximum acoustic enjoyment.
Danika and The Jeb make their second visit to the museum at the start of a three-month tour beginning August 10. They are thrilled to come back according to Holmes, “The audience was receptive, and the stage allows us to be at the same level. So, they can see the pedal board that Jeb uses.”
In fact, at their inaugural performance at the museum, a concert goer said, “What is Jeb doing with his feet up there?” Then he explained the pedal board and how it works, and Hart and Holmes have incorporated this demonstration into all gigs because it is fun for the crowd to learn about. “With our acoustic instruments, audiences get to hear everything—each note, string bend, and run—nothing gets buried by the drums or bass. There’s no hiding. Jeb is also a very rhythmic player. So, although there’s no actual traditional rhythm section (drums/bass) audiences will still feel the beat, tap toes, bop heads,” Holmes says.
The nuances they bring to the songs, even covers, is fresh and engaging. They sometime wheel out George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and their take breathes new life into the classic. Or, Holmes’ voice on the “Rainy Day Lovin” alternates between a sultry whisper and all-out country trill with lovely subtleties in between.
This duo met when Holmes took guitar lessons and Hart was her instructor. He owned a guitar school in Iowa at the time, where he taught for over 16 years. They started performing together in 2010 and have put on a thousand shows across the United States from Florida to Texas to Maine.
In 2012, they moved to Nashville from the Midwest. Originally, they began working with a producer who was more on the country side of things. They have had the experience of performing with the likes of Justin Moore and Dierks Bentley. In fact, Hart has filled in with hundreds of bands playing multiple genres. But as time went on they have adapted their music and style.
“Due to instrumentation, we started doing more pop, funk and jazz,” says Hart.
Holmes explains that they perform original songs collaboratively written and arranged. And when they do covers, they always add a new twist or arrangement. Influenced by Sheryl Crow, The Beatles, Yo-Yo Ma, and Paul Gilbert, many genres are fair game for the versatile duo.
“We get a lot of love from the country folks. Think of everything from Stevie Wonder to Norah Jones,” says Hart when explaining their style. Holmes expounds, “We use acoustic instruments. Our melody and grooves are on the soulful side, and the pop side is in the catchy lyrics and universal themes.”
Danika and The Jeb
7 pm, Friday, August 24
Grants Pass Museum of Art, 229 SW G Street, Grants Pass