I came across this image in our salvaged box from Los Angeles. Somehow our photographer friend convinced me and Jennifer Kimball to sit in a snowbank in January in Western Massachusetts.
I remember wearing that men's coat to death, and my Dunham work boots. I remember writing songs like crazy after taking one composition course - our first assignment, to set an e. e. cummings poem of our choice to music..- "love is more thicker than forget" - I felt like I had been struck by lightning and finally figured out what I was supposed to do with all the melodies and words in MY head. And all those bizarre harmonies? Finally, I didn't have to keep them to myself! Jennifer was the perfect partner in dissonance!
jennifer kimball and me, circa....84?
It’s a little embarrassing…. I had to print out my lyrics sheets so large this time...
The headphones, after a few hours press into my glasses and my glasses burn into the side of my head behind my ears, and then, OY. So in order to remember, and see, and NOT have to get that headache? ENORMOUS lyric sheets.
How do I describe working with these musicians? When you tell Steve Gadd that the feeling you need at the end of the song “My Misery” is just like the rag tag chaos at the end of the movie King of Hearts when the whole gang is traipsing back to the asylum because they don’t really like the “real world.” He can PLAY that. He just gets it.
When you say the song "What do I Know?" needs a small but earnest “caboose” that just propels it along, he and James Genus merge into the most compelling combination of rhythmic choices and melodic genius.
When you tell Ben Butler that the chorus of "Mom’s Song" needs to feel like WHOMP, it’s opening wide, he comes up with a chiming gorgeous escalating arpeggiated waterfall.
And just say gnarly and slappy, greasy and dark, and BAM they all start rocking on the song “Scars.”
I have not been in “the studio” as in, a REAL, big, world class studio… isolation, priceless mics, great board, compressors, etc… since we made The Works back in 2008. So needless to say, I was a little nervous.
But I like working under pressure. And I LOVE tracking with the band. There's a vibe when we're all going for it at once. And I believe, if it’s not there in two takes? You’re probably not going to get it – so move on!!
There is an intensity, an energy in those moments that is intoxicating for me, - ok, there may be tiny flubs, but it’s REAL. That was how that particular song went, at that hour, in that proximity to the mic.... I love recording with that kind of abandon. OLD SCHOOL.
So that’s what we did. And I’m in love. I can’t thank the guys enough for their incredible sensitivity to the material, to the stories that informed these songs. They were listening so deeply as I pulled them out, and they GOT it.
These songs are EVERYONE’s songs. Everyone has lived pieces of these stories... Crazy mother, goofy Uncle, love lost, love redeemed, just plain loneliness. LIFE.
Needless to say, It was powerful to feel that recognition in Studio B.
My pal Becky over at Section 101 told me about "Throwback Thursdays" - no, not a drinking game. Just a day to share a little wedge of the past.
Well, a couple weeks ago when I was in Los Angeles, my husband and I tried and almost succeeded at emptying out a moldy old storage locker. But in the moldiest corner? Throwback treasure in an old box marked "promotion."
Some of my favorite ever photo shoots happened while I lived out in LA. between 1997 and 2002 I was lucky enough to have Melanie Nissen take pix for two different records - ten cent wings
and Steady Pull.
I don't remember ever having so much fun in front of a camera. She and her makeup and styling pals, whose names I'm so sorry I've forgotten, brought out the wacky for sure. (who the hell came up with the green slashes of paint in lower middle one? I'll never tell!)
(Swim goggles??) So today, I inaugurate the first Jonatha Brooke Throwback Thursday.
I had my six week check up with Dr. Pellicci - he's the surgeon that did my new bionic HIP! “Wow,” he says, “You’re flying!" I'm officially allowed to touch my toes again, (thank goodness, because that elliptical machine? BORING!!!!!!)
- bone is melding nicely with my new hardware. And he gave me an official ‘spare parts card’ to show them at the airport in case I set off the alarms! Psych!
In the sweetest moment of the visit, Mary who works in the office said in her gorgeous Irish lilt, "I really love that 'eye in the sky' that you do..."
Made my DAY!
In case you DIDN'T hear about the PledgeMusic Campaign. WOW. It's knocking my socks off.
(ceremonial passing of the torch. readying the "starsky and hutch" t-shirt for its generous pledger, slowly moving on to my new "bionic woman" t-shirt.)
I had felt like I was gone so long... So many plans were postponed when I moved Mom to New York. So now that "I'm back" - I made no assumptions... The attention span is so fleeting, we are all so busy, life is getting longer and shorter all at once! Needless to say, it's incredible to be creating again.
Please keep spreading the word! We were very conservative with our goal, so anything that comes in will help us make a beautiful package, hire a publicist, bring the show on the road. If you might be someone who would buy the album anyway, think of it as pre-ordering and helping the cause in a really practical way!! (and you get pledger only updates and advance little ditties)
I am working on arrangements, I am obsessed with baritone and alto flute, accordion, bass clarinet, cello. Gil Goldstein and I - you might remember him from the arrangement on "After the Tears" or the gorgeous accordion ditty "Coney Island Intro" on The Works - we're taking on the new songs. Swoon.
Mostly, thank you! Stay safe. More very soon.