March is celebrated for various reasons and is known to bring awareness to multiple health observances, including brain injuries. However, while people recognize that brain injuries can occur, not many realize that millions sustain mild to permanent injuries. Among those looking to bring more awareness is musician Jay Chavez, who has decided to go public with his traumatic brain injury or TBI.
Jay Chavez has spent more than three decades in the music industry, playing alongside some of the most well-known artists. He is a diverse, multi-talented, and all-around musician who decided to finally set out on his own with the creation of the Jay Chavez Band in 2018. Jay recorded his album “Plain Brown Wrapper” at Hilltop Recording Studios in Nashville and later planned a forty-city record release tour for Spring 2020. The musician planned to have his wedding with fiancée Cassidy in May once the tour was over.
Although his plan was set in stone, Jay was forced to cancel the tour on load-out day with the onset of the global pandemic. He sat down to figure out his plans and decided to release the first single, looking ahead in anticipation. Jay and Cass found their silver lining despite the roadblock the pandemic presented and realized the situation was a blessing in disguise.
Instead of holding an in-person wedding, the couple got married via Zoom in late April. They planned to spend it in quarantine at their turn-of-the-century farmhouse for their honeymoon. However, within a week after their marriage, Jay got into an accident while working on the ranch. Over 2,500 lbs of lumber fell with a force that caused him to suffer a coup contre coup traumatic brain injury, causing bleeding from the front and back of his brain.
Initially meant to be a quarantine honeymoon, every day became a fight to keep Jay alive. Cassidy kept herself busy, caring for Jay and keeping the ranch functioning. She pushed the first single to the radio, generating resounding success all while keeping the severity of Jay’s injury from the public without knowing what the prognosis for recovery would be.
“All By Ourselves,” the first single, was steadily climbing the charts with a second track, “Change,” set to be released at the end of summer. Although he was unaware of what was happening around him, things were starting to look up for him. Without a timeframe or guarantee of recovery, Jay shifted his energy and focus from live performance to writing. When he couldn’t stand or speak due to the severity of his vertigo, Cassidy would put a guitar on his lap for him to play.
“It was as if the brain injury had, at the same time that it ripped many of his faculties away, unlocked something buried inside him I hadn’t seen before,” said Cassidy. “After a few minutes of playing, he could speak again and understand speech. It was without a doubt; music brought him back from the edge of oblivion when nothing else worked.”
Since the injury, Jay Chavez has been pouring music out like a tide. When he finally recovered, he made sure to return to the recording studio. While he has made guest appearances and played full shows, Jay is currently holding off on any tour decisions.
“For now, I’m focusing on healing with my family and recording lots of new material,” said the musician.
“Plain Brown Wrapper” will be released in stores by May 2022 and will be available on all streaming services and online music retailers in conjunction with the store release date.