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Pressing the cassette into his Walkman, Cameron Jaymes lay on his bed and waited for the sounds of Paul McCartney's 1971 album "Ram" to come through the headphones.
"My piano is boldly outspoken," the voice growled and cooed. "Cats and kittens, don't get left behind."
So it was that Jaymes no longer wanted to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers when he grew up. He wanted to be a musician.
"I just loved the way that music made me feel," Jaymes says now. "It evoked a certain feeling in me, a sort of excitement."
This kind of emotional response is exactly what he and his bandmates hope to evoke with "Everything You've Been Looking For," the debut album for Jaymes Reunion fall of 2008.
The band name stems from the fact that whenever these musicians get together, it feels like a family reunion. On guitar is Braydon Nelson, who went to the Berklee School of Music and met thru Cameron's older brother, Justin. Eric Watson, on bass, went to Jaymes' church. Jeremy Taylor and Jared Byers, taking turns on percussion, met Jaymes out on the tour circuit.
"As we made the record I really connected with the guys," Jaymes says. "It became this family reunion of musicians, for me, and a revolving collaborative of buddies I've made."
Together, the members of Jaymes Reunion "want to encourage people, to give them the feeling I felt when I heard that Paul McCartney record for the first time," Jaymes says. "I'm driven by the idea of connecting people with songs."
Born in August 1984 in Bakersfield, Calif., Jaymes started singing while in elementary school. His mother enrolled him and his brother in an after-school choir program, but it wasn't until he was 15 that Jaymes focused seriously on singing and songwriting, penning his first piece for a girl he wanted to impress.
By age 18 he'd already toured with a ska-punk band and was spending time figuring out his own sound. He shared it, poolside, with some music execs in West Hollywood during Grammy Week 2006, and that led Jaymes to sign with BEC Recordings a division of Tooth & Nail Records.
Reminiscent of that Paul McCartney record, Jaymes Reunion's debut features soaring, solid vocals backed by marching drums, pop-rock keyboards and strumming guitar influenced by U2, Coldplay, Switchfoot and The Bee Gees. Jaymes' favorite sound - the piano - features prominently.
"My greatest inspirations come from everyday life," he says. "I want to give people songs that warm them and help them feel alive."