By Shawna Boswell, Special to The Trussville Tribune
BIRMINGHAM— One recent night, John Davidson and Jacob Bryant walked onto the stage of Workplay Theater for their first sold out show.
The Pinson Valley High School drum line, representing the duo’s small hometown 16 miles away, led the singer-songwriters onto the stage. The guest appearance surprised the crowd of over 450 music fans, much the same way Davidson and Bryant have surprised many with their quickly growing success and recognition throughout the music industry.
“Music has always been a huge part of our lives,” Bryant said. “I’ve always just felt very connected with songs.”
The 25-year-olds began their musical careers with songwriting. After being signed as writers with Major Bob Music in May 2011, the two co-wrote the No. 1 song “Done” with well-known Country artists The Band Perry.
“I definitely don’t recall ever hearing anything, any music, from young folks that sounded like they did,” said Mike Doyle, the manager of John and Jacob. “None of us really knew what it was as far as a genre. We just really knew it was something.”
As writers, they toured with The Band Perry in the United Kingdom, and continued writing once they returned to the United States. However, Bryant and Davidson’s career started growing beyond writing. Their band, named John and Jacob, began to come more into the limelight than ever before.
“This [band] is the focus,” Davidson said.
With inspirations such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys, the band displays its unique sound in each show. While Bryant and Davidson are writers on the side, all of the band members write for the project, Bryant said.
Touring the country as opening acts for multiple musicians, John and Jacob finally made it back to Birmingham for their headlining and first sold out show at WorkPlay on Nov. 29, 2013.
About a year after Bryant and Davidson moved to Nashville to start working on their careers, band members Trevor Davis and Jake Thrasher moved up, also. Davis grew up in Pinson along with Bryant and Davidson, and Thrasher grew up nearby in Moody. Once the four were together and really started to pursue the band, they met Austin Smith from Texas in their apartment building. The five became John and Jacob and have only grown in success since.
“When you find the right group of people, it’s unstoppable, and that’s the situation we are in,” Davidson said.
Backstage before the show, the boys were laughing at each other and telling stories of their favorite memories as they have toured the United States.
“Every time we get in a van and go somewhere, it’s like a little adventure,” Thrasher said.
While the band continues to tour, its success can only be expected to grow. John and Jacob’s single, “Be My Girl,” was recently featured on ABC’s hit show Nashville. In addition, they have been nominated for an MTV O Music Award and named a Red Bull Sound Select Artist.
John and Jacob was also the first unsigned CMT Listen Up Artist, Davidson said.
“It’s like two separate sides. We have a writing side for country music or whoever, and then we also have this thing going on,” Bryant said. “What we’re really proud of is this band.”
Before the show, Smith played the guitar while the rest of the band sang along. As they took turns signing numerous posters for fans, their voices echoed backstage with the music they had proudly written.
“My earliest memories are of me singing my favorite songs,” Bryant said.
Now, these five men are creating even more memories while singing songs they have written themselves.
Saint Museum warmed up the crowd by opening for John and Jacob. Saint Museum’s drummer, Nick Shores, is a long time friend of Bryant and Davidson.
“I have known them for six years and have seen them excel in music,” Shores said. “They still remain humble through the fame, and that is super important.”
As John and Jacob took the stage, a show full of energy began. Not only were guitars, drums and a piano used, the members brought in a variety of other instruments including a tambourine, harmonica and trumpet.
“It’s hard to find live entertainment that’s really compelling,” Doyle said. “They’ve got that, as well.”
The band recently signed with CAA as its booking agent and opened for Kacey Musgraves on tour. They are now working to finish their first album for 2014, Bryant said.
“The recording process is also so much fun,” Davidson said. “It’s a ton of work, but when you hear a song come together from what we heard in our heads when we wrote, to where it ends up once it’s recorded, is really gratifying.”
Meanwhile, the boys are continuing to tour and perform, and landed a spot on the lineup for the upcoming 2014 Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, AL.
“We’re getting great opportunities through relationships,” Doyle said. “And through opportunities, we’re keeping those relationships open.”
While finishing a record, traveling, and performing at numerous shows each week, John and Jacob show the determination and talent that got them this far and will get them even farther in the future.
“It’s hard to sort of hear honest spirit in music,” Doyle said. “I think they were given that as a gift.”
While John and Jacob’s sold out show in Birmingham may have ended, their success as musicians has only just begun.
“I see John and Jacob as a band growing through hard work and good music,” Davidson said. “I want this thing to go as far as we, as a band, and the fans want it to.”