Jeb Loy Nichols
|Jeb Loy Nichols
Right there at On-U Sound's inception and remaining an occasional collaborator of Adrian Sherwood ever since, some 30 years on, Jeb Loy Nichols finally released an album on the label:
Born in Lander, Wyoming, Jeb moved to Warrensburg, Missouri when he was seven. As a kid he travelled with his family to bluegrass festivals, and that, along with country, were his biggest musical influences. While in high school, he latched onto the then-burgeoning sound of punk rock. Jeb was so entranced by the brave, loud, new world of punk that when he graduated from high school, he moved to New York City. [There he] started hanging at clubs like Tier 3 and the Mudd Club [and] became friends with members of the Slits and Neneh Cherry.
After two years in New York, Jeb went to London for what was supposed to be an extended vacation. He shared a house with Ari Up from the Slits, Neneh and producer Adrian Sherwood. Like New York, London represented cultural freedom. That freedom to throw caution to the wind and just make some noise appealed to Jeb, who had temporarily abandoned his art to make music. Under the guise of Jeb Loy & The Oil Wells his early On-U career was brief - offering forth the tracks 'Things That Make U.S.' for On-U's first compilation, 'Wild Paarty Sounds Volume 1' (ON-U LP6) and the still unreleased 'Hostage In Iran' for a single that was shelved (SOUND 2).
He [later] formed a country band which often opened up for a then-struggling band called The Pogues. By 1990 a tape of songs that he recorded with Dave Schramm (of The Schramms) ended up at OKra Records. OKra offered Jeb a deal and [he] hastily threw together a band that included his wife Lorraine Morley. The Fellow Travellers merged country-tinged, acoustic-based songs with dub and recorded an album in three days, the first of three for the group.
In the mid 1990s Jeb found employment as chief designer of the artwork on releases by Pete Holdsworth's Pressure Sounds and Green Tea labels - his own distinctive house style still appears on many of their releases to this day. 1997 saw the launch of his own solo career with the album 'Lovers Knot' and a single 'As The Rain'. In a nod to old times, the single's title track received the Adrian Sherwood remix treatment to all round acclaim.
Several other albums have since followed, and by the time 2003's 7" 'October EP' was issued on Green Tea (GTSI 002), Jeb had relocated to North Wales - his new rural surroundings acting as an inspiration for the furthering of his music and art.
2010, after 30 years in the waiting, saw Jeb finally take On-U Sound centre stage with his first self-credited album for the label, 'Long Time Traveller', featuring the vocals of Jeb, the riddims of Dub Syndicate and Roots Radics, and contributions from the Crispy Horns, Ghetto Priest and the ever dependable Skip McDonald. One of On-U's staunchest allies had final come home.
(Adapted from Jeb's biography at www.jebloynichols.co.uk)