As Jack Swing, Pittsburgh musician Isaiah Ross heads out on his own | Local Beat | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

As Jack Swing, Pittsburgh musician Isaiah Ross heads out on his own 

“I realized I was in that low space and I wanted to fight back and fight through it with my music.”

After nearly a decade of making music, Isaiah Ross is finding his voice.

From filling in on guitar for live performances with rock band Brightside to providing vocals and bass as a member of Skull Kid, Ross is no stranger to the Pittsburgh scene. But his latest project presents a new challenge — working (mostly) solo.

On New Year’s Eve, Ross will digitally release Cloud Cover, the first under his Jack Swing moniker. For the gritty, blues-inspired rock ’n’ roll project, Ross is the primary songwriter and instrumentalist. During recording he was joined on drums by Conner Kapelewski.

Playing music since he was a teenager, Ross often dreamed of presenting music as a solo artist. Before he could do that, he felt he needed a little more time. “I tried to do something similar for awhile, but I just wasn’t good enough yet,” he says. “The Jack Swing name and idea always stuck with me.”

It wasn’t until this year, when Ross went through an emotional period, that he felt it was the proper time to unveil Jack Swing. Cloud Cover is his way of channeling those tumultuous feelings and dealing with the unexpected heartaches of life.

“The EP represents when life is coming at you in a million ways, and you find it so easy to get down on yourself and want to give up,” he says. “I realized I was in that low space, and I wanted to fight back and fight through it with my music.”

After completing the songwriting, Ross practiced extensively with Kapelewski to prepare for recording: Kapelewski would play drums while Ross worked on playing multiple instruments, finding ways to layer the sound. They eventually went to Very Tight Recordings, in Sharpsburg, for what Ross calls his most calculated recording attempt.

Pittsburgh’s scene provided inspiration for the release, including the addition of fellow DIY musicians for a full Jack Swing live band. Ross holds the people of the city very close to his heart, and he hopes listeners will hear the influence of Pittsburgh on the record.

“Now was the time for me to do this,” he says. “I’m really excited for Cloud Cover to be out there and for people to hear it. It finally came to fruition.”

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