Good Luck to You All: An Interview with JD & the Straight Shot

“Good night and good luck.”

American broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow spoke those words for the first time at the end of one of his segments in 1940. It became one of his catchphrases, as well as the title of the 2005 Oscar-nominated film about his conflict with Wisconsin U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy.

With the amount of chaos in today’s world, from politics to the environment, New York Americana band JD & the Straight Shot felt the phrase was a fitting title for their sixth studio album. By switching the phrase for the album, Good Luck and Good Night plays off of the backwards ideology of today's news cycle.

The underlying theme of the record touches on the chaos but more importantly, it touches on the pure entertainment factor. “While there are definitely some messages in the lyrics of our music, I believe that our first and foremost goal as a band is to bring enjoyment to our listeners, and create music that affects them in a positive way,” violinist/fiddler/back-up vocalist Erin Slaver said. “Perhaps some of the subjects are emotional or controversial, but our primary goal is to present our listeners with an album that is both thought-provoking and sonically enjoyable.”

Slaver was enrolled in a music program for the violin at just three years old and trained classically from childhood through college. She also grew up playing music with her father, where she was brought up hearing country, bluegrass and jazz influencers. At just 29 years old, she’s worked alongside Martina McBride, Rod Stewart, Rascal Flatts and more.

Her first rehearsal with JD & the Straight Shot had her beyond nervous as she stepped into the illustrious studio A of Avatar Studios. Waiting in that room for her was Zev Katz on bass, Shawn Pelton on drums and Brian Mitchell on keys. However, the intimidation element immediately dissolved as their talents complemented one another inside of that studio. Today's lineup of Slaver, Pelton, lead guitarist Marc Copely, bassist Byron House, and JD himself - Jim Dolan - is another piece of Slaver's resume that shines brightly.

Good Luck and Good Night is a blend of each member’s varied background in an entirely acoustic format. It has fusions of classical and Irish folk music with touches of rock and roll, country and blues. Even forms of literature make their way into certain tracks, from Charles Dickens to Maya Angelou.

“From the outset, we knew we wanted to envelope the melodies to our songs in complex and beautiful harmonies,” Slaver said. “We began by using our instincts for harmony and tweaked from there to bring it to the next level. We listened to a lot of classic bands like The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Beach Boys as well for inspiration and influence. Our band is also an incredibly unique unit, as we are made up of a diverse group of people with very different musical influences that have shaped each of our lives. We all bring a little of these with us to the songwriting table when we work together, and it manifests itself in our playing.”

Murrow’s “good night and good luck” was adopted from a live radio address given by then-Princess Elizabeth II. Londoners often closed their conversations with the phrase due to the nightly German bombing raids. Now more than ever, the phrase once again applies to the world’s turmoil. An Americana band from New York has decided to revive that phrase.

This is JD & the Straight Shot.