Nominated for Sensored Magazine's 2004 Starving Artist Award and one of America’s most expressive singer/songwriters, Nashville native Jerry Hager’s musical influences date back to his early youth in Detroit. His father was a gospel singer from Charleston, WV in the early 60’s. After relocating to Michigan, Clifford Hager was accompanied by Jerry on the road through most of Jerry’s childhood. After a few failed attempts at learning the guitar under instruction, the young apprentice found that he could learn to play on his own, by listening instead of just exercising. That is how Jerry Hager plays, writes & produces – by listening.
Jerry Hager attended The Recording Institute of Detroit in the late 1980's. There he learned from old school Motown & Holland, Dozier Holland engineers & producers about audio & music. Soon he was working as an engineer on projects of George Clinton, Martha Reeves, Jad Fair & Half Japanese.
During that time, Hager was able to experiment with his music as well. He created & recorded music that he now admits was so over-produced that he lost control of it. But not long after, Jerry was approached by the music directors of a B-horror film from Troma Entertainment (Toxic Avenger, etc.) titled Frostbiter – Wrath of the Wendigo, which starred Ron Asheton of Iggy & The Stooges. They bought 5 experimental recordings, which he had created years before, & contracted Hager to co-write a promotional song for Ron Asheton & Elvis Hitler. He co-wrote & played Bitchin' Babes with Detroit producer Steve Quick. Jerry can also be seen in the music video if you don't blink.
Not very long after, Jerry Hager discovered the power of acoustic music. "I guess that was penance for the Bitchin' Babes thing." Jerry assembled an acoustic trio in Detroit & performed in Ann Arbor & Lansing. Just before leaving Michigan, he found himself living on the couch of guitarist, Kevin Killeen, as most great artists do at some point during their career. Finding an old 8 track reel to reel in the basement, Jerry recorded what turned out to be Gentle Man, his first CD. It remains to this day one of Hager's favorite projects. With its contemporary pop sound, the first track, River Café, was well received on college radio in Lansing & Detroit. Woods has since been covered by Boston folk singer, Carl Cacho. The album's I’ll Be With You Someday ranked number 3 on the Americana chart mp3.com.
In 1993 Jerry relocated to Nashville. Concerned that his music didn’t fit in either a Country or Folk genre, he soon discovered that his music had been easily welcomed as Singer/Songwriter, Americana & AAA. Hager was very well received. He found that in Nashville he learned a great deal about playing, performing & most of all, what he wanted out of his own music. So he founded The Union Buffalo, a six-piece band supporting Jerry’s unique pop-oriented Singer/Songwriter style.
The Union Buffalo found themselves busy with a faithful following. The show was dynamic & the songs were emotional. But the vortex of other projects drew Jerry back into the studio as producer & engineer. He had started recording a Union Buffalo project but was unable to spend much time on it due to the massive amount of time dedicated to other artists. Hager worked with many regional artists like Hayseed, The Evinrudes, Joe Nolan, Tom Mason & The Boomgates. Then Jerry found himself playing bass guitar regularly with The Boomgates for a couple of years.
After the split of The Boomgates in 1999, Hager finally decided to finish the recording project that he started in 1994. And it took another two years to do that. After he was able to assemble songs that were recorded over a long span of time, Miles From Brushy was finally released through www.bluebourbon.net. The album’s Sail, Have You Near & Finally Up each charted in the Americana top 10 on mp3.com. The final song on the album, I Walk Slow, has been covered by Hayseed on his most recent release, Home Grown. Thanks to a suggestion from Lucinda Williams, Hayseed’s version includes Hager’s original bed tracks.
Returning to Nashville from New York in 2003, Jerry Hager has revisited the stage & is scheduled to appear with The Union Buffalo in support of Miles From Brushy & to showcase eleven new songs from the forthcoming album, to be released this Christmas on which pre-production has already begun. The first releases, Believing & 9 Days, each topped the Americana chart at #1 on AudioStreet.net & #5 on the first day out on mp3.com. 2004 presents a long roster of projects on which Hager is playing & producing, including Paul Zografi & Joe Nolan, with whom he recorded Plain Jane & co-produced King. Jerry Hager looks forward to a very productive year supporting Miles from Brushy & the new project.