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The Right Track: Jared Kolesar of Jared & the Mill


Christina Fuoco-Karasinski   College Times


Jared & the Mill has proven to become a Valley—and national—favorite. With its willowy jangle rock and hook-laden lyrics, the band has provided the soundtrack to many a college years.

Lead singer Jared Kolesar grew up in Scottsdale, a fifth-generation Arizona rancher. He affectionately carries a beige hat that’s a replica of one owned by his grandfather.

“I wanted to be the crocodile hunter when I was a kid,” Kolesar says with a sly grin. “I have videos of me catching rattlesnakes and climbing all over the place and chasing coyotes around.

“After a little while, I wanted to be a doctor, a human mechanic and learn what makes people work, in a physical sense. I always thought it would be really cool to be a doctor. I have the constitution for it, I think, and the aptitude. I love helping people and making things better and making things work.”

After graduating from Chaparral High School, he headed to ASU and quickly learned he didn’t have the constitution to study as hard as he needed.

“I directed myself to the idea of working my way into the business world, maybe being an entrepreneur, owning a restaurant or hotel—something in hospitality.

“I really clicked with marketing and advertising. I focused my schooling on that.”

When he finished university, he decided he would give music a shot. Kolesar didn’t think it would go far, let alone pay the bills.

“By our third show, people were excited to see us and knew our songs,” Kolesar says. “That was crazy. I thought we might as well see where this goes. I’m still seeing where it goes eight years later. I never intended for this to be a thing, until it was already a thing.”

Kolesar offered his favorite tunes for The Right Track. For a list of the band’s upcoming shows, visit jaredandthemill.com

Top Six Favorite Songs
of All Time:

A disclaimer: This question is impossible. My favorites change routinely, so please know that this answer aligns with this very moment.

“The Stable Song”
by Gregory Alan Isakov

I couldn’t tell you why this song just absolutely moves me. I think it just sounds like time passing, like growing up in the best way possible, and it fulfills a sense of wanderlust for me like nothing else does.

“The Hills” by The Weeknd

This song is really something special to me. The lyrical content is secondary to the way the music makes me feel. This song is so loose and cool in the verse and then so aggressive and raw in the chorus. The dynamics of it are so primal and real. I could listen to it all night, every night. (I would say all day, too, but this isn’t a daytime song.)

“California” by Joni Mitchell

“California” is playful and real in a way only early Joni can be. It just sounds like me going around the nation and seeing the friends I’ve come to love on my travels. “California’s” magic doesn’t miss me, and every time I go out to LA, I listen to this song and it immediately turns me into this prodigal beatnik, and provides me with this carelessness for my troubles. I’m more able to focus on the moment, which isn’t something I’m particularly good at most times. So, this song I save to listen to for special moments.

“Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Man, oh man, Lynyrd Skynyrd may not be the coolest band anymore, but this song will always touch me. It has kept me on track and driven me to be a good person in times of my life when doing otherwise would’ve been much easier. The message is basic but nonetheless true: Just try your best to live simply and happily. Discomfort comes and goes, but your integrity and peoples memory thereof is eternal. Just try your best to be good to everybody, including yourself.

“Old Friends” by Pinegrove

This song’s sound speaks for itself. It’s lightning in a bottle that I’ll never be able to understand, but I’m so glad it exists. Lyrically, it speaks to me in all ways. The following lyrics are absolutely astoundingly beautiful and relatable: “Walking out in the nighttime springtime. Needling my way home. I saw Leah on the bus a few months ago. I saw some old friends at her funeral. My steps keep splitting my grief. Through these solipsistic moods. I should call my parents when I think of them. Should tell my friends when I love them.”

“Hymn 101” by Joe Pug

This song will always and forever mean so much to me. Joe Pug is a hero of mine who I started listening to as a freshman in college, and now after these years of playing music, he is a dear friend who I have the pleasure in talking to regularly. It’s an amazing mark of success when you get to share space with your heroes and even call them your peers. This song coincidentally has a lot to do with finding the strength in yourself to keep moving when it’s difficult to go on. That’s definitely something I deal with often as I keep growing as an artist and entertainer, but as I go on I gain the ability to share space with the people I respect most. It’s circular to me, and this song is an emblem of that growth.

Preferred way of listening and why?

Vinyl. Vinyl. Vinyl. Vinyl. Because it’s ritualistic, the sound quality is warm and welcoming, and it just feels more involved—vinyl.

Desert Island Album

“10,000 Lepes.” It’s from a Hungarian band from the ’60s called Omega. The album is eclectic and epic and beautiful. I could spend eternity wondering what the songs are about, if nothing else.

What artist would provide the soundtrack for the movie about your life?

Probably Jimmy Buffet, because why not.

Go-to guilty pleasure track or classic karaoke tune.

My karaoke song is and will always be “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” by Shania Twain. CT


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