Rising Music Star Jay Chavez Opens Up About Traumatic Brain Injury

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[Jay has decided to go public with his Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) now, as March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and he wants to share his journey of hope and recovery]

“You never believe it’s going to happen to you until it does.” There are no truer words to describe the last couple years for Jay Chavez. After 30+ years of being a hired gun and session player, he set out to release his first solo album, forming the Jay Chavez Band in 2018. After recording “Plain Brown Wrapper” at Hilltop Recording Studios in Nashville, he began planning a 40 city record release tour for Spring 2020. Jay and his fiance Cassidy planned to have their wedding in May, after the tour, at their ranch in the mountains of Northern Ca.

After having to cancel the tour on load-out day due to Covid, they sat down to figure out what to do next. Deciding to go ahead and release the first single, he set the first release in motion, and looked ahead in anticipation.

Jay and Cass decided that all of this could be a blessing in disguise. Postponing their large in-person wedding plans, they got married via Zoom in late April. Planning on spending quarantine restoring their turn-of-the-century Victorian farmhouse, they dove into the remodeling. About a week after the wedding Jay had an accident while working on the ranch. Over 2,500 lbs of lumber fell on him. The force of the fall caused his brain to suffer a coup-contra-coup Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Causing bleeding in the front and back of his brain. The equivalent of having two strokes at the same time.

What was supposed to be a “Quarantine Honeymoon” turned into a daily fight to keep Jay alive. While caring for Jay and keeping the ranch functioning, Cassidy pushed the first single through to radio, to resounding success. All while keeping the severity of Jay’s injury away from the public, not knowing what the prognosis for recovery would be.

The first single, “All By Ourselves”, meanwhile was steadily climbing the charts around the world. With another single, “Change,” ready to be released at the end of summer, great things were happening for Jay in his professional world. Not that he was completely aware any of this was happening.

With no timeframe or guarantee of recovery, Jay shifted his concentration from live performance to writing, and writing is what he’s done, in a prolific fashion. At first, when nothing else made sense, and he couldn’t stand or speak because the vertigo was so bad, Cassidy would put a guitar in his lap and he would play. “It was as if the brain injury had, at the same time that it ripped many of his faculties away, unlocked something buried inside him I hadn’t seen before. After a few minutes of playing, he could speak again, and understand speech. It was, without a doubt, music that brought him back from the edge of oblivion, when nothing else worked,” she said.

“I don’t know how to describe it,” Jay says, “English sounded like a foreign language. I couldn’t understand the simplest things my wife would say. But music. It was like grabbing onto flashes of color while living in a black and white world. It was the only way I could find my way back to understanding speech.”

Music has been pouring out of Jay like a tide since the injury, having recovered enough to return to the recording studio. “I feel like I’m finally back! And in some ways, I’m now a better artist than I’ve ever been. I may have lost some parts of myself in all of this, but I’ve found that other things (musically) have become linked in a way that’s amazing, but hard to explain. The way that I think about my relationship to playing instruments has fundamentally changed. I see so many more possibilities and range in anything I pick up, it’s exciting. I’ve never considered myself a conservative player, but now I can say with certainty I’m taking more chances in my playing.”

Although Jay has made guest appearances and played full shows in the past year, he is currently holding off on any tour decisions. “For now I’m focusing on healing with my family, and recording lots of new material.”

That’s not the only thing that Jay is looking forward to. It’s finally time to release “Plain Brown Wrapper.”

“After so many obstacles, It feels good to finally let it out into the world.”

“Plain Brown Wrapper” is awaiting manufacturing and will be in stores by May 2022. It will be available on all streaming services and online music retailers in conjunction with the store release date.

Country: Siskiyou County, CA USA

Media Contact: Wayne Derman

Company: Wayne Derman Management

Email: waynederman@gmail.com

Phone number: 415-378-7050

Website: www.jaychavez.com

Opinions expressed by Miami Wire contributors are their own.

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