New Jersey singer-songwriter, Jake Thistle, released his debut studio EP, The Half Left Out, via Gold'n Retriever Entertainment, on November 17, 2023. Recorded between New Jersey and Nashville, the EP boasts seven original guitar and piano driven songs from the young songwriter. Like his heroes, Thistle's performances are delivered genuinely with authenticity, sincerity and well honed craft.
In addition to Thistle’s songwriting, singing, guitar and piano playing, The Half Left Out was produced by Tyler Sarfert, Jacob Kulick and April Rose Gabrielle and features performances from drummer Michael Santa Cruz, guitarist Nick Nella, and Michael Beresky on bass guitar.
“The Half Left Out is my first studio EP release, and I’m excited to get this batch of songs out through Gold’n Retriever Entertainment,” enthuses the songwriter. “I couldn’t be prouder of this album sonically, much in part due to the fantastic musicianship I was lucky enough to be surrounded by during its recording. We tracked almost everything in studio, which was a fantastic time. This entire process has taught me so much, and I can’t wait to apply it all on the next release. I hope you enjoy it!”
The EP opens with the pensive and gentle, “Brooklyn Can Wait.”
“I recorded ‘Brooklyn Can Wait’ very soon after it was written, so I walked into the studio with far fewer expectations on how I thought the final product should sound, considering I hadn’t been sitting with the song for too long. I had such a great time experimenting and laying down the sound that moved the record in a new direction.”
Guitar and drums drive the opening of “Keeping It Alive,” and Thistle recalls,“staring at the grass growing through the cracks in the pavement, not too pretty, but it’s my only sign of life. We recorded it with the full band and it was such a privilege to watch the song come to life from the piano bench while we recorded everything together. I’m fond of this one in particular. It’s become a staple in the live set.”
“I wrote ‘Brainfreeze,’ surprisingly, on a hot spring day, and I’m grateful it’s coming out on the EP in November, right as the weather cools off for the year.” Based on the Americana-style guitar rhythm, the song ended up arriving perfect time! This was one of my favorites to record vocals for, considering the melody is dynamic, starting out so low and building into higher lines, it really allowed me to experiment and work some things out vocally,” says Thistle.
The Allman Brothers inspired, “Ghosted Road,” was the first song recorded for The Half Left Out. “It was the first track I recorded with a full band ever,” says Thistle, “so I’m really grateful for all I’ve learned from this session in particular. This was the first single we released on Gold’n Retriever Entertainment.”
The wistful “Half Beats Nothing,” finds the songwriter imagining the life of a former lover who has moved on. “Half Beats Nothing is a favorite of mine on this record, and I’m so grateful to have it turn out the way it did. Tyler Sarfert’s drumming really brought the track to life in a way I wasn’t even expecting, and I couldn’t be happier with the finished product.”
The pensive, piano driven, “The Dreamer” is the oldest song on Thistle’s debut, having written it about two years before recording it with the band. “I walked into the studio with a specific sound in mind having sat with the tune for so long. I’m thrilled with the final result, and this was the second single we released with Gold'n Retriever in 2023.”
The EP winds down with, “Rolling Away.” “I recorded it twice; the first version in New Jersey with a full band as a b-side to 2022’s 'Ghosted Road', and a second time down in Nashville. I really liked the first version, but once we started recording the other tunes for this release, I found myself hearing a different style and sound for this song, so I’m grateful the label agreed. Both versions were produced by Jacob Kulick and April Rose Gabrielli, who are now Nashville based and fantastic!”
Jake, now 19, has been hired to perform in Europe and across the US, and for crowds of thousands at major music events. His first studio single, “Ghosted Road”, garnered the Best Americana Song of 2022 Award from Indie Boulevard Magazine, and the Hollywood Sentinel had this to say about Thistle's follow-up single, The Dreamer: "Jake has it all. The looks, the voice, the talent, and even a great song here...be prepared to be blown away."
Jake has been featured on CBS News, Variety, Billboard, American Songwriter Magazine, BBC Radio, The Record, WCBS FM, NYC's Q104.3 FM, Norman's Rare Guitars, All Guitar Network, and a wide range of other news outlets. And already in his young career, Jake has played with legends like Ron Blair and Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Jim Keltner (Traveling Wilburys, Bob Dylan), Earl Slick (David Bowie/John Lennon), Jon Herington (Steely Dan), Mark Whitfield (Sting), Tony Garnier (Bob Dylan), GE Smith, Jesse Malin, Low Cut Connie, Carmen Vandeberg (Jeff Beck), John Hiatt, Anton Fig (Warren Zevon), Severo (The Smithereens), Alex and Roy Orbison Jr, Chris Stills, Jeff Slate (Rolling Stone), Willie Nile, Lou Pallo (Les Paul), Eddie Brigati (Rascals), Johnny Farina (Santo and Johnny), and many, many other great musicians. Jake has been on bills with the likes of Jackson Browne, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, Eddie Vedder, Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle, Tom Morello, The Lumineers, Wilco, among other Hall Of Famers. Along the way, Jake has picked the musical brains of rock royalty, such as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Steve Winwood and many other influential artists.
Moreover, Jake has personally raised hundreds of thousands for a variety of charitable organizations through an extensive range of fundraising performances and has contributed music to events that raised millions. In recognition of those efforts, Jake was recently named an official artist for WhyHunger's Artists Against Hunger and Poverty, alongside legends like Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Brandi Carlisle and Carlos Santana. He was also honored with a special service award from the American Cancer Society for his significant contributions to the cause through his music.
Jake Thistle will be playing select dates in support of The Half Left Out.
Gold'n Retriever Entertainment was formed by Joe Riccitelli in January of 2021 following a successful career as a major label record executive which included a co-presidency and General Manager at RCA Records and a 25 year run as head of promotion. Today Gold'n Retriever Entertainment is multi faceted music company. Varying in music marketing and consultancy for many artists including Pitbull, J Balvin, Big time Rush, Sadie Jean, 98 Degrees, Crush Music, Atlantis Entertainment , Handcraft Entertainment . Gold'n has expanded into the independent label scene via a distribution agreement with Vydia Distribution. In addition to Jake Thistle, J DURAN and Mother Hubbard are featured artists. “After a blessed career on the major label side, it was a joyous transition to work with independent artists and help independent labels launch their own perspective musical paths," says Ricitelli.
Upcoming Tour Dates
11/17 Ringside w/full band Caldwell, NJ
11/19 Bar Anticipation w/Tom Cunningham on 101.7 Lake Como, NJ
12/1 Wonder Bar for Fulfill.org Asbury Park, NJ
12/10 Luka’s Holiday Dinner & Music Bogota, NJ*
2/3 Rockwood Music Hall New York, NY
*w/hall of famers Mark Whitfield, Jon Herington, Anton Fig, Tony Garnier & more