We had the good fortune of connecting with The Ordinary Two – Jim & Tanya Disner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jim and Tanya, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Jim: Music has always been very important to both of us. I think the moment I fell in love with Tanya was when I first heard her sing back in high school. I’ve always been a part-time musician, performing shows when I could work them in around my full-time job schedule and family. I worked for 20 years at a music store and a few years at an insurance agency. What really changed my mind and made me decide to go for it as a full-time musician was when Prince died. I was sitting at my desk at my day job when I heard the news and it really affected me deeply. Prince lived for music – he toured all the time, lived in his studio, creating constantly. It made me think, “What am I doing with my life? I need to make music! At least give it a try before I’m dead.” So that sealed it. I started gigging and teaching lessons as much as I could. It took a year or two to convince Tanya to come with me. We started the duo, sold a bunch of our stuff, rented out our house, bought a tour/camper van and hit the road. Just trying to make enough money to pay for our food and gas.
We often tell this story at our shows as it’s the inspiration for our song “I Was Wrong”.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Our style of music is difficult to categorize. The best we have come up with is Alternative/Folk/Jazz. We both have an eclectic taste in music and bring a little bit of it all into our sound. We have an affinity for sad, wistful songs and feel like we do them really well. Our newest studio single, “Change” and our song that woke us up in the middle of the night to be written, “Find You” are great examples of this, and we have more in similar style to come in our album “Out of the Ordinary” which will be released in late fall. We have been married forever but just recently started this musical journey together. We changed our priorities and perspective to make this happen. Forgoing the security of steady incomes to travel, create new experiences, meet new people and reconnect with old friends scattered across the country. Hopefully making enough money to pay for food and fuel along the way. The sacrifices have been well worth it in our opinion and we have discovered what we truly value, which, above all else, is other people. If you think about it, people are all any of us have.
We also discovered that we are very compatible and companionable together in small spaces. After spending months at a time in our tour van we still kind of like each other! Our fans often tell us they can hear and see the love between us in our performances. I think it makes our harmonies sound the way they do. I think you can hear how we support each other. We share our experiences through our songs in the hope that we can relate to our fellow humans in a more meaningful way. As people we all have the same feelings, challenges, desire for security, love and joy. We are more alike than we are different.
We have grown as artists and as people as our world and understanding of our place in it has changed, sometimes in surprising ways, and that feeds our thoughts and therefore our art.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We always thought it would be fun to take a green chili tour of Denver. You could start at Burrito Giant for breakfast, hit up La Loma, Santiago’s, and end up at Chubby’s at 1am. You’ve got to see Red Rocks, whether there is a concert or not. And while we are there, a hike around Dinosaur Ridge. Maybe Ramakhandra or Ghost Tapes is playing at The Bluebird Theater. Or hopefully, Eldren is performing their Dark Side of the Moon cover concert at the Oriental theater that week. Also, we have to go to Dazzle Jazz Club and see if Tenia Nelson or Joshua Trinidad are performing.
In Lakewood, we are anticipating the reopening of Casa Bonita! Jim went there for his birthday right before it closed and we are excited to see what it will become.
In all honesty, we prefer nature to the concrete jungle of the city. We are definitely more “State park on a Tuesday” people than we are “Saturday night in Vegas” people, so visiting the mountains is a must. In fact, we have been spending about half our time in Western Colorado. Especially the small town of Cedaredge, or as we like to call it, “New Nashville”. It is our home away from home and may become our new home base soon. We love to go out on a lake and paddle around in our Kayak. Or just take in the beauty that our state has to offer. Take the lesser travelled road and see where it takes you. Speaking of beauty, the Denver Botanic Gardens definitely makes the list for some tranquility in the city. Tanya was a florist years ago and we spent quite a bit of time there.
As a last assault on the senses we have to go to the new Meow Wolf. We spent hours exploring the amazing art throughout and would love to go again.
Of course Denver has grown and changed a lot in our lifetimes and there will always be more to discover and explore.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Our fans, friends, and family have made it entirely possible for us to explore our musical passions. From general enthusiasm to promoting our music to letting us park our tour/camper van in their driveways. Our wonderful musical community has encouraged and enabled our growth as artists. Especially David Starr, Ron Miles, Bailey Elora, David Navarro, Spencer Crawford, Hillery McCalister, John Simpkins, Dave Simpkins, and too many more to name.
Jim Disner, DJ Disner, Glenn Sawyer