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This and that: ‘An American Hero’ working week edition
As we wait for word out of Delphi … How a Malachi Jaggers track wound up on a Grammy consideration list. Video of that Brian Lamb/Mitch Daniels Q&A. And a voter guide in final push of the election
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A few things while anticipating what investigators are going to tell us in Delphi Monday morning. For updates from Delphi on the investigation in the Abby Williams and Libby German murders, follow on Twitter: @davebangert.
To watch the 10 a.m. press conference, the Indiana State Police will stream it live on Facebook.
MALACHI JAGGERS AND HIS ‘AMERICAN HERO’
Thanks to a heads up from friend Scott Greeson for word about Delphi native Malachi Jaggers and his track, “An American Hero,” a heartland rock song that made the consideration list in the first round of balloting for next year’s Grammy Awards.
“Although not yet a nomination, a major accolade and a first step,” Greeson, who had co-writing credits on Jaggers’ song, said.
Jaggers actually had two songs make that initial ballot – one that will be pared down in a couple of weeks to the lists everyone winds up seeing, full of big name acts. Here, Jaggers talks about one of those tracks submitted.
Question: Congrats on this news. Tell everybody exactly what’s up with the Grammy consideration for “An American Hero.” How did “An American Hero” wind up on the Grammy radar?
Malachi Jaggers: Thank you, Dave. First I had to go through the process of becoming a member of the Recording Academy, aka the Grammys. It’s by invitation only. Two of my musical peers recommended me, and that’s how I got in.
Being considered for a Grammy is the first voting round for Recording Academy/Grammy members. That’s called consideration. The votes you get during consideration determine whether or not you’re going to make it to the next round. The next level is being nominated and then after that is the vote for a Grammy. Making the ballot is quite an honor. I wound up on the radar by submitting my music. You have to be a member of the Recording Academy to submit a song. I also have another song under consideration titled, “What Are You Waiting For?” which was co-written with local singer/songwriter/pianist, LeeAnna Atwell.
Question: When did you write and release the song? And how did it come about?
Malachi Jaggers: The idea came to me when I was playing a riff on my guitar sitting in my living room. I started thinking about my grandpa and the words just started falling into place. I don’t understand how that happens, but when it does you know it’s something special. There were a few lines I was still struggling with, so I invited Scott Greeson to be a co-writer. We met at the Battlefield in Battle Ground and finished the song there. I had to record it the next week, so I was on a deadline.
Question: What’s been the reaction when you play the song out?
Malachi Jaggers: The reaction has been very good. People love the song. I’ve had people come up to me with tears in their eyes saying that it reminds them of their dad or grandpa. There is no greater compliment as a writer than to have people relate to what you are writing. And say that it means a lot to them.
Check the video for ‘An American Hero’ here …
Question: For the uninitiated, describe your songs and your sound. Who are your main influences?
Malachi Jaggers: My sound is a mixture of country, rock and folk. I call it Heartland Rock. It has a ‘70s rock vibe. There are so many influences, but if could pick three I’d say the Beatles, Tom Petty and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Thanks to my dad and my mom, my musical influences are numerous and cover a broad range of genres.
Question: Just to be clear, this isn’t to be confused with Joey Scarbury’s “Theme from Greatest American Hero (Believe It Or Not),” right?
Malachi Jaggers: Ha … that is right! Not the same.
Question: Tell a bit about your background and career – where you went to school, day job, that sort of thing?
Malachi Jaggers: My day job is music. … I started playing music at 4 years old, and at 7 I discovered a love for performing. There’s actually some home videos of me entertaining my family. My first gig was singing Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” at a local library talent competition in Frankfort. I also would try to convince my teachers in school to let me play my guitar and sing for my class. They usually were agreeable to the idea, and that was a great way for me to get experience in front of an audience. My dad gave me a vast musical education: big band, jazz, blues and classic rock. Being a musician too, he’d invite friends over to jam with us, and converted our 8-by-10-foot shed into a mini recording studio. He also gave me my first guitar — a Sears Silvertone. I learned to play guitar by ear, later picking up drums, bass, ukulele, piano and harmonica. Later I began exploring the art of songwriting and home recording, developing a passion for music that grew each year. I joined the seventh-grade choir, played the lead in three high school musicals at Delphi Community High School and started a garage band at 14. At 17, I entered a local songwriting scholarship contest called, SAMI – the Songwriter Association of Mid-North Indiana. One of the judges, impressed with the quality of my track, decided to mentor me in my music career. That judge and founder of SAMI happened to be Scott Greeson.
Question: When will you find out the next step in the Grammy process, on a nomination? And what kind of odds are you putting on it coming true?
Malachi Jaggers: I will find out on Nov. 15 if my songs will be nominated. One never knows about what might happen, but I am hoping for the best. I did notice a sharp increase in my Spotify number for “An American Hero,” so I think that Recording Academy members are listening.
Question: Where can people find the song? More importantly, where can they buy it for their collection?
Malachi Jaggers: “An American Hero” is available for streaming on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and Amazon. It can also be purchased as a download on my website here: https://shop.malachijaggers.com/products/an-american-hero-digital-single
For more: For a link to Malachi Jaggers’ upcoming shows, go to malachijaggers.com/tour/
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ALSO PLAYING OUT IN DELPHI: As Delphi awaits word Monday on an update Indiana State Police promised in the 2017 double murder of Abby Williams and Libby German, this is playing out in the background. Carroll County Deputy Michael Thomas, who was defeated in a run for sheriff in the May primary, has filed a federal lawsuit against Sheriff Tobe Leazenby and the sheriff’s office, contending that he was demoted for political reasons that he claims date back to his approach to the 2017 investigation. For a look at the case, Fox 59 reporter Russ McQuaid had this story late last week.
ICYMI: THE VOTER GUIDE EDITION: Heading into the final week of early voting ahead of the Nov. 8 election, are you looking for a rundown of how to find out who is on your ballot, what candidates say they’re all about and where you can vote? Here you go: 2022 Voter Guide: Your ballot, candidate Q&As and where to vote
THAT BRIAN LAMB INTERVIEW WITH MITCH DANIELS: Last week, I mentioned that I’d drop the video of C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb’s interview last week with outgoing Purdue President Mitch Daniels once it was posted. Lamb, namesake of Purdue’s School of Communication, covered a lot of ground during a wide-ranging, 90-minute conversation on the Fowler Hall stage Oct. 24. Here you go …
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