When Brian Wright and Sally Jaye turned a tiny shed in their backyard into a recording studio in Nashville, they never thought that would lead them to owning and running an independent record label. Wright recorded an album, Cafe Rooster Sessions, Vol. I in the tiny shed and as a result friends started to come by to jam and hang late into the night, one of those regulars being songwriter/storyteller and now Cafe Rooster artist, Darrin Bradbury.
In the summer of 2016, Bradbury had his now critically acclaimed album, Elmwood Park: A Slightly Melodic Audiobook, in the can and was looking for a label home. In a moment of half joking and half seriousness, he asked Wright if he could release his record on his label. Wright answered, “Sure, but I don’t have a label.” A month later, Cafe Rooster Records (CRR), a uniquely structured label, was launched. The label is collectively owned and operated solely by the artists and incorporates music, visual arts and art projects paired with causes.
That September, Wright and Jaye bought the house next door and moved their studio into a larger building that although is not publicly open for business, has been a place for artists and friends to create, work, record and make videos, including artists such as Rayvon Pettis, Rorey Carroll (producer, artist), Yellow Feather, and more.
At the September 2016 launch of the label, a day concert at Little Harpeth Brewing, over 500 people showed up for a lineup of CRR artists and friends: Brian Wright, Darrin Bradbury, Ladies Gun Club, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Joe Purdy, Jon Latham, Paul Luc, and Tim Easton.
Since its inception, the label has released Bradbury’s Elmwood Park and the psychedelic/hillbilly rock duo, Ladies Gun Club’s latest album, Take My Love Away. The label also is home for catalogues of Brian Wright and Sally Jaye. This summer, they will release Jon Latham’s sophomore album, Lifers, as well as a compilation, Strange Freedom: Songs of Love and Protest, a collection of songs in response to the latest presidential election featuring Mary Gauthier, Radney Foster, Derek Webb, Will Kimbrough, Rorey Carroll, Steve Poltz, producer/artist, Matt Haeck and more.
Also in the works, the label will be working with East Nashville activist, writer, photographer, Stacie Huckeba to nationally expand her recent editorial exhibit, This Shoe Doesn’t Fit, a story of diversity told through the journey of an Ivanka Trump brand pair of fancy shoes. And the label has more visual artists working with different mediums on deck to join the family including rock n roll cartoonist and creator of Wannabe, Chris Prunckle.
In addition, Cafe Rooster Records has collaborated with artists and causes on campaigns to raise awareness and funds for homeless outreach, opioid addiction, and Planned Parenthood.