Jeremy & Clay - 2 Cool Cats


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Jeremy Davis and Clay Johnson have been friends since they were young boys. They did everything together including getting married two weeks apart!

Both music lovers since childhood, they have joined forces in The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra, taken the show around America, and now have big plans for their band, which just entered its 15th year.

But this isn’t your grandfather’s music.  When you go to an Equinox show, you get a ramped-up ready-to-rip band of expert musicians who throw everything they have learned along this journey into it.  Entertained you will be.  Laugh and dance you will. The force is strong here.  These two transplants from Louisiana mean big business.

Growing up a Jazz musician, Jeremy Davis’ heroes blew saxophones. A career in jazz seemed like something he wanted.  But somewhere along the way, spreading joy and seeing a wide variety of people come together in the name of music took precedence.  The word “jazz” gives us all a preconceived notion right away. Are the guys in the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra great musicians? You can bet they are. But they also realize the importance of entertainment.  Goals. You’ve all read about them on instagram.  

Music is sometimes only 10 percent of what we do.

“Getting people to ‘unplug’ from their digital lives” is something Jeremy Davis said that resonates within all of us. A team of arrangers have given new life to songs by Roy Orbison, Huey Lewis and more.  Can these guys do Sinatra? Surely. But there is also the “equinox thing.”   You hear songs from other genres that you wouldn’t expect. “This is my job in the world,” states Davis. Playing music across the U.S every gig became an “experiment in humanity.” 

Seeing people react in 54 different cities was great, but there is much more, explained Clay Johnson. “Did Jeremy tell you the story about Arkansas?  Outreach is also something the guys wanna “teach the kids.....things you don’t learn when you get a music degree.” For two days, the jazz band at the University of Arkansas became the “equinox jazz orchestra” and rehearsed then played a show.

The level of energy after the show was insane (much like “Equinox” after-show weightlifting behind the bus where they do an exercise called  “man-makers” and shout at one another.)  The guys have also never ruled out what they may be doing next, planning a children’s album in the near future.

But how does one (or 18) men have fun on “the road,” a place so many musicians loathe? “We had our Traeger grill and ate like kings everywhere we went, dining on local fare. Arranger Tommy Brinson is an amazing chef who joined forces on the road with drummer Zack Albetta...it was just fun...Looking good and feeling good is important to us too.”  Staying fit is a big part of the Johnson household (Clay’s wife’s family owned a gym.) In Savannah, Clay sought out trainer Jared English.

Now how do we  take it to the rest of the world? They have already been to places like Poland, Nova Scotia and other locals on service oriented trips to bring together people in need with others who want to help. Like I said earlier, there is much to be learned when talking music with these two men. About lessons and learning from things they have acquired along the way in this thing called life. Organization is a huge part of music like any other career, and sadly most great musicians end up playing on the weekends in dive bars.

“Music is sometimes only 10 percent of what we do” stated a very modest Clay who has obviously worked hard on his pipes (and guns) to get where he is today.  The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra, coming to a city near you. Make sure to check out their website at equinoxorchestra.com and support these guys as they continue in their quest in bringing joy to a theatre near you.

To read the full article, subscribe now or pick up the January/February issue of South Magazine.

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