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Audio interview: Jeff Gutt and band talk music, songwriting and debut show

In the five months that’s followed an exciting “X Factor” season three runner-up finish, Detroit area native singer/songwriter Jeff Gutt has been busy launching the next phase of what is certain to a long and successful career. A crucial part of the process has been assembling what he deems to be a “super group” of guys to form his band.

Jeff Gutt and band members Cyamak Ashtiani, Brandon Brown, Gary Pittel and Casey Jenkins will play live at Masonic Temple Detroit on May 3.
Photo Courtesy of Mission Detroit Photography/Used With Permission

All of the band members have previous history with Jeff, but haven’t always known each other. Therefore, finding out if they could work well together was the first key to their success. Fortunately, Jeff and new band members Gary Pittel, Cyamak Ashtiani, Casey Jenkins and Brandon Brown immediately clicked upon their first meeting in Los Angeles earlier this year and collectively agree they have great chemistry. They also share a deep love for music, passion for playing and a strong work ethic that already binds them professionally and gives them a great launching point for the exciting journey ahead.

Jeff and the guys have individually been playing music for a minimum of 15 years or more. They are all grounded in rock and highly gifted with their instruments, with influences in a wide variety of genres. Fellow Detroit area natives Gary and Cyamak are on guitars, Casey is on bass and Brandon is on drums. Jeff fronts the band with lead vocals and guitar and deems all of his boys “the best at what they do.”

They’ve spent the last few months writing, recording and rehearsing new songs and have churned out new material at virtually warp speed. They recently performed live together for the first time at the 2014 Detroit Music Awards and are currently prepping for their upcoming debut headline show at Detroit Masonic Temple this Saturday, May 3, which will include a post-show Meet & Greet with Jeff and the band. A post-show after party will also be held after the Meet & Greet at Bleu on Woodward in Detroit.

With less than a week before they take the Masonic Detroit stage, pre-show buzz and excitement has been building on Jeff's Twitter and Facebook sites with ecstatic fans announcing their travel plans to the show from Australia, Canada, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Florida and more. Other fans are begging Jeff to come to their city or country next in places like Brazil, South Africa, Toronto, California, Indiana, Arizona and all over the U.S.

It's been an honor covering a talented and grounded local artist like Jeff, leading up to this pinnacle moment in his career. His large and loyal band of Michigan followers couldn't be more thrilled that Jeff chose to do his debut show at home, in one of the most historic buildings in Detroit.

Jeff's talent and tenacity continues to inspire his listeners, aspiring musicians and other artists around the globe. Jeff's keen ability to get to the emotional core of a song and connect with his audience continues to set him apart as an extraordinary artist in a crowded field of up-and-coming musicians. Given the multi-talented musical tour de force that Jeff's band comprises, their musical future is undoubtedly boundless. A preview of their new rather haunting song "Shadows and Light" via is a rich representation of their musical and lyrical strength.

I've had the pleasure of doing several previous interviews with Jeff and yesterday, April 28, I caught up with him and the band together for the first time in an exclusive conference call interview which was recorded and is included in this article in the attached YouTube file. We discussed some of the band’s musical influences, the songwriting process, and the upcoming May 3 show and answered some fun questions (including the debate on Jeff’s marital status) from members of Jeff’s huge international JAGarmy fan base.

In the casual conversation that follows, it’s immediately apparent these guys have a great, easygoing camaraderie and they are all getting stoked to rock Detroit and meet some fans this Saturday in their debut show. With their collective talent, charisma and natural ability to connect with an audience, it’s also obvious Jeff Gutt and his band are currently poised to become the next big name in rock.

Purchase tickets for Jeff Gutt at Detroit Masonic Temple on May 3, 2014 via or via Jeff's website

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