You’ll Be Hearing From ME

MEJ at barI met with Mary-Elaine Jenkins last night for the first ever TRS audio interview. Everything went swimmingly–I do not know why things going swimmingly is a thing, but will not look it up because productivity & discipline. If I leave this page for a Google search I just know I’m going to wind up with a new pair of shoes & one of them fancy blankets with the sleeves they got nowadays.

Anyway, I’ll be chopping up & editing our little talk this weekend to post early next week. So, everyone try to just go about your business & live your lives like normal until then.

Hugs,

J

Vox Jody

I’ve been thinking about the upcoming Mary-Elaine Jenkins interview & how this is going to be the first time my actual voice is heard, & it’s got me weirded out. I’m not shy, though I think plenty of people would assume that about me, so, it’s not that. I think it’s because I’m best, as in the best me, is represented in text. Because, I have edits & rewrites & I’m as comfortable on a keyboard as a, what? Pig in slop? Bug in a rug? Point is, writing me good at.

In conversation I’m a goofball, though. Not that I’m not going to let MEJ speak her mind & bless us with her formidable mind. It’s just that you’re probably going to be wondering why the intelligent & talented singer/songwriter (Mary-Elaine) is in conversation with mealy mouthed fool (Jodykins!). You’re going to be all, “Did Jody haphazardly save her life despite his dim wits & utter lack of grace, & now she owes him some sort of life debt?”

But, like most fears of ways things will go, I’m sure it’ll play out in real life fine just fine. At any rate, it’ll be more of MEJ’s voice in the world & that ain’t no bad thing.

Happy Thursday, Y’all!

Because we celebrate every single day because of it is a day, right? Because today is IT! Yesterday is gone as hell & tomorrow is too damn late!

Ugh, I don’t see myself as a cynic, but maybe I’m too much of one for this sort of opening. I can’t just say, “Hey. Sup?” Like in the ’90s. Maybe: YOU GUYS, HAPPY ALMOST FRI-YAY!!!!!!!!

Th’hell did I get on here for, again? Oh, yeah.  Re-newed dedication to the blog.  What are some things for here?

Oh, here’s some actual big news. Like, BIG-big. Like, the Lord ain’t made enough exclamation points for how ALL CAPS BIG this news is. I’m gonna interview Mary-Elaine Jenkins! She’s even going to let me wire her up for an honest-to-goodness boney-fied audio recording of us talking at each other! The first for The Road Southern blog. Yep, stepping out of the year 2003 & right into shortly thereafter. Here’s to one day achieving the present! I wonder what day of the week it’ll fall on?

Love you guys, & I’ll see you in church! (You’ll never see me in church)

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Spaghetti del Alma

So, you guys digging The Road Southern’s renewal? I know, I know. We’re only, like, two posts in, but they’re good ones, no? I’ve decided in its new incarnation I’ll be doing some journal blogging (j’ogging?), because this site is my wall & I got all this spaghetti to throw at it. Spaghetti that’s inside me. Soul-sketti.

Wow, I had this idea of doing an epic stream of consciousness post, but it turns out I just wanted to justify the term soul-sketti. Shit, what else?

My after thoughts of the last installment, that being about Mary-Elaine Jenkins, are these. I didn’t recognize anybody at Rockwood save for MEJ & her mama. I thought I’d feel uncomfortable, but I  enjoyed it. Perhaps because most, maybe all, of the South Slope, Brooklyn singers & pickers I used to write about are gone. In my mind the community, as it were-as it was, had come to an end. This isn’t true, though. Roots Cafe‘s new operators are wonderful people: artists, photographers, & poets. The packed house at MEJ’s showed me the Americana scene is plenty strong & enduring. Good things.

It does not do to bemoan loss & vacancy in this city for too long. If I haven’t written before that this town is like a river, well, let me do so now. All that rushes out is replaced by all that rushes in.  All the good people I seen go are duly missed, but here come some good people around the bend. That’s comforting. Know what I mean?

Jeepers, I got a little deep there. What else?

I got a new bicycle!

Love, love, love,

J

cropped-cropped-test-header.jpg

One of the first pics I snapped when I moved here. These bikes & the one I’ve had for all ten years in Brooklyn are gone now. It’s cool tho, I got a new one. It’s better. Because rivers.

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The Monster & Mary-Elaine

I’ve always been afraid this blog might be taken for a fansite, since (early on, at least) my reporting has largely been of praise for some of the same people.  Having said that, I’m writing this piece the morning after the Mary-Elaine Jenkins record release show at Rockwood Music Hall while listening to her debut album Hold Still, &, muh dudes, I am sporting a Mary-Elaine Jenkins t-shirt (I really wasn’t planning on writing anything today & laundry is overdue). I’ve only my pleas to you all to not take me as a fanboy though I’ve currently no evidence to the contrary—which might make Mary-Elaine wary of me had we never met. The point is I don’t critique art & culture here. My aim is to support it.

So, let us breathe deep & take for granted that what I’m about to say I would have said anyway, regardless of current playlist & band tee. Mary-Elaine’s show was pretty fucking great!

I’ve seen MEJ play quite a few times since this blog’s early days. The more I’ve watched her, the more I’ve seen something grow in her. Not from an unblossomed bud or tiny spark. It doesn’t feel like it originated in her at all. Whatever it is it wandered in & not as some pretty, wispy unhurt thing. I can hear it in her smokey voice. You can see it in her steely eyes. Whatever it is it’s older than she.

ME touched

ME4Her music has evolved since I first spotted the singer/songwriter four years ago. It’s not just her & an acoustic guitar anymore. This gives that ineffable monster inside her room to bang around as it does in the album’s opening track “Rooster.” Mary-Elaine’s patience & diligence in finding the right producer has paid off. The songs on her album are robust without bloat. She’s picked up an electric guitar, as well, turning her song “Iggy” into a juke joint classic. The title track “Hold Still” would be just a sweet & pretty song as it’s slowed down with pining strings & tinkling mandolin, but there’s too much of an ache, & it’s here I feel that the monster has found solid shelter in Mary-Elaine Jenkins. The muse is not a beautiful pixie that comes to bless us with divine inspiration, that’s your stupid ego. The muse is the unquelled beast inside, tired, broke down, & fightin’ mad. But neither monster or gal linger in anger or ache as they pick themselves up to clown around a bit with “Six Skinny Toes,” an ode to her guitar.

Mary retouchedIt is due to this symbiotic relationship of beast & singer that I recommend MEJ’s record. The first thing I wrote about MEJ was in part an apology for near dismissing her. I could have written about her during different iterations of her musical life, as she’s acquired more experience & upped the number of members in her band as required by a growing monster. But I was worried about being mistaken for a fansite. Hold Still is a fantastic & rewarding reason for you to get up, check out some new music, & for me to begin again this blog that aims to support the impressive southern talents in this most yankiest of cities.

You can still see Mary-Elaine Jenkins live AF, & you should, the first Sunday of every month during her Pete’s Candy Store residency!

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