Questions frequently asked of the
Pea Pickin’ Hearts, Jon & Rachel

These FAQs may be directly quoted. For more info or downloadable assets, see our EPK.

Jon Ives from the Pea Pickin' Hearts Jon Ives was asked:

Are you originally from Tennessee? “No–far from it. I was born in Wisconsin then moved to Arizona then to Kentucky then to South Carolina–only to land in Gatlinburg, TN in the Spring of 2007. Rachel’s grandmother always considered me a Yankee, but she also considers any man, woman, or child, not born in the great state of Virginia or Tennessee, a Yankee.”

Earliest music memories? My parents were big fans of classic country music like Waylon & Willie, but it was my brother’s rock ‘n’ roll that held my fascination for years–ACDC, KISS and Rush, of course.

You’re a classically trained percussionist? I played drums in school because it was as close to a rock ‘n’ roll instrument as I could get. As a result, I ended up with a music scholarship to USC, the principal timpanist position with the SC Philharmonic, then a public school music director position before quitting it all to pursue Rock ‘N’ Roll.

How did you end up with such a decidedly old-school sound? “I spent years in and out of rock bands, touring the country before everyone decided to have kids and cars and careers. Rachel was our booking agent, and she grew up in Georgia which, according to her, requires some level of devotion to country music. So through my early exposure and then settling in East Tennessee, I found a sound I loved–the musicianship, the harmonies, the ‘guts’ of it all. Studio musicians & performers in country, folk and other Roots music are among the best in the world, and that appeals to the Rush-loving kid in me. That musicianship, coupled with beautiful harmonies and a great turn of phrase, appeals to me. It is the sound I want to produce: simple & well-crafted.”

And what’s Rachel like as a singing partner? “Our lives together are musical. It is a bond between us. She’s a great writer. She’s pitch perfect. I mean, have you heard that voice? And, well, she does do a mean Patsy Cline.

Rachel Gibson from the Pea Pickin' HeartsRachel Gibson

What brought you to Tennessee? “We visited a number of towns when we decided to move, and Gatlinburg won. I know that it sounds incredibly hokey, but the Great Smoky Mountains are breath-taking. As a family, we are just three of the hundreds of folks that came to visit the Smokies and just never left.”

What your earliest music? “My 1st albums were Elvis, Tammy Wynette, Dolly & Kris Kristofferson. I played them until I knew every word. And, there was the Saturday morning ritual with my aunt Maggie B. of going to the record shop. We’d buy the top 10 singles on vinyl 45s each week then dance our way through them in the middle of the livingroom.”

Do you have any formal music training? “I learned to sing harmonies in choirs at both church and school then studied opera & musical theater. But I learned most of what I know by listening to Patsy Cline. Her tone & stylization can’t be replicated. I’ve never heard anyone convey heart & heartache like that. I’ve had a lot of instruction since, but I never learned as much as I did from Patsy.”

Why country & folk music? “That mix of honest old-school country lyrics, beautiful folk harmonies & irreverent rockabilly fun. I love rock ‘n’ roll, but, I also own EVERYTHING by Dwight Yoakam— that Cowboy Punk just calls my name. That’s telling enough, I suppose.

And, what about the name? “Pea Pickin’ Hearts” is a reference to none other than Tennessee Ernie Ford’s famous line “Bless your pea pickin’ heart.” We have many odd connections to Ernie. My mother was judged Sophomore Beauty by Tennessee Ernie Ford in High School. Jon does the best cover of “Sixteen Tons” I’ve ever heard. It is a tribute to my history with Jon, our adopted TN home.

What is the next big project for the Pea Pickin’ Hearts? We’re are always working on a new CD and touring the country in search of an audience. If people want to keep track of us, Follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our Blog.

Better yet, Come see a Show!