Remember that saying “Never judge a book by its cover?” It was ingrained into us at a very early age and with good reason. Today, we have something that exemplifies that, as we dig deep into the music of the unassuming Pearl Lion.
Looking at this independent act’s SoundCloud profile wouldn’t allude to the storied musical history that goes along with it. There are a couple of tracks uploaded, one casually adorned with a unmastered tag, leading the casual browser somewhat uninterested in what this artist has to offer. That is, until our premiere of “Big Sky.”
Jared Scharff, aka Pearl Lion, has a rich history in the world of music. There’s a long, winding, and incredibly action-packed background that has lead him to this point, starting out in his school’s band. Fast forward a few years, we find this youngster at French Woods, a performing arts camp where he met and played with Adam Levine and Jesse Charmichael from Maroon 5. Shortly after graduation, Scharff went to NYU to study music, where he started his stint with a band called Carbondale, who were signed to RCA Records. Eventually leaving the band for personal reasons, he found himself entering into what he’s currently doing now, which is playing for the Saturday Night Live Band. In fact, if you’ve watched a monologue or commercial cut scene in the past seven years, you’ve seen him back there.
SNL isn’t the only thing he’s been up to over the past seven years though. This uber-accomplished musician has also played with Sting, Elton John, Brunce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Bruno Mars, and James Taylor. In addition to that, he was a part of the CBS fashion Rocks House band, where he has performed with have Justin Timberlake, and Beyonce. In addition to that, he has played in the Pete Seeger Clearwater Concert House Band, performing with Pete Seeger, Emmy Lou Harris, Steve Earle, and Arlo Guthrie. And one last notable mention, he subbed for James Valentine in Maroon 5 once. Whew.
So here we are. Pearl Lion is me pursuing a dream I’ve had since I was a kid. A dream to make modern, accessible, instrumental music. I miss the days of the classic guitar heroes that pushed the envelope like Hendrix, Page, Clapton in Cream. And it’s rare to find that these days, with the exception of a few people (Jack White, St. Vincent, etc). So I’m putting my name in the hat to occupy that role. I’ll carry the torch. Ive wanted to my entire life. – Jared Scharff
You see what we mean by not judging a book by its cover? Musical accomplishments aside, today we’re here to highlight Scharff’s personal project, as we bring you a look at “Big Sky.” The song stems from a video he was doing in LA for a new guitar pedal called “Big Sky.” While he was in LA for this shoot, he came up with the main guitar melody, which is why the song is named as such.
It’s a cinematic listening experience, calling on associations of both modern electronic ambient artists such as Tycho or Bonobo, yet bringing elements of more classical style guitar work, like Buckethead. Rich, textural, and enveloping layers create a soundscape that’s easily remembered, one that listeners could easily identify at a live show. Which, to us, is always a strong point of importance when it comes to instrumental acts.
Make sure to keep an eye on Pearl Lion by following him on SoundCloud. With an EP coming out sometime this summer or early fall, he’s an artist you won’t want to lose track of.