Singer/songwriter Duane Jarvis has been on the move most of his life. Born in the Pacific Northwest, Jarvis' dad was in the Coast Guard, so he spent his formative years up and down the West Coast (with a brief stay in Florida). As a musician, he has played throughout Europe and spent time in the music scenes of Portland, OR, and Los Angeles. He has come to rest in Nashville and is pleased with the opportunites offered in Tune Town. Jarvis' songwriting, and his touch on the guitar, have elicited a good deal of praise, particularly from other artists such as Lucinda Williams, Buddy Miller, Rosie Flores, and John Prine.
His musical background is quite eclectic. Jarvis began his advanced music education with the John Burroz Blues Band in Portland. He eventually moved on to the power pop group the Odds and worked the I-5 circuit. Jarvis has noted that while he began his music life in a blues band and subsequently worked with a rock outfit, he grew up under the influence of his dad's country music albums. He also cites radio as a major source of inspiration, recalling the days when commercial radio was actually interesting and playlists had some diversity. Jarvis' move to Los Angeles was pivotal. As he recalled: "I was sort of starving in Portland in the mid-'80s, so I figured I might as well go starve in L.A. where it's warm. And there were so many great bands down there at the time. The Blasters were happening, as well as Rank & File, los Lobos, the Plimsoles, Peter Case, Lone Justice. My first year in L.A. sucked, but I did okay after that. It's difficult to move from a very comfortable place to one of the biggest cities in the world, especially without any friends, but it worked out great. I eventually got to play with a lot of my heroes." Marvin Etzioni, founding member of Lone Justice, proved to be a major source of help and inspiration for Jarvis. It was through Etzioni that Jarvis met Lucinda Williams, John Prine, Dwight Yoakam, and Rosie Flores. Jarvis also played in Etzioni's band Long Tall Marvin in 1986-1988. Jarvis honed his songwriting talent during his L.A. days, influenced by the work of George Jones, Ray Davies, and Dave Alvin, among others.
After 11 years in Los Angeles, however, Jarvis was ready to move. He was set to head for Austin, TX, but a phone call to Lucinda Williams, who had relocated in Nashville, convinced him to check out Tune Town first. "I spent three weeks in Nashville, went home and packed my bags," Jarvis said. "I was sold on it." Jarvis arrived in Nashville in 1994, at the time his debut solo album, D.J.'s Front Porch, was released on Medium Cool Records. His second record, Far From Perfect, followed in 1998 on the now-defunct Watermelon label. His latest U.S. release, Certified Miracle, was released by Slewfoot in 2001. Jarvis also released an album titled Combo Platter for the German label Glitterhouse in 1999. In addition to his recording projects, Jarvis has also been a staff writer for Lieber and Stoller since 1998. ~ Philip Van Vleck