Live Review: High Water Festival 2019, Charleston, SC

If I could design my own festival then it would look much like High Water Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Compact and curated by local legends Shovels and Rope it appeals to grown ups who want a blissful weekend of diverse music. The joy of this well-organised festival is that staggered stage times allow you to see every artist on the bill – meaning there’s not a lull in proceedings the whole weekend. The site lay out is simple, easily navigated and offering space for everyone. Even the VIP section, which I am naturally opposed to, was set up in such a way as not to affect the rest of the crowd. Continue reading “Live Review: High Water Festival 2019, Charleston, SC”

On Album Covers, Judgement and Objectification

Jenny Lewis’s new album has a striking cover picture of her wearing a cut out dress. The image was a glamorous twin of her cover for previous album ‘The Voyager’. On that album she had worn a rainbow suit inspired by Gram Parsons and the headless shot focused all our attention on that outfit. The ‘On The Line’ cover is almost an identical shot but this time Jenny is in a satin jumpsuit, her hair styled and her cleavage exposed. Those in the know connected the images together and understood that the new album cover was a metaphor for Jenny freeing herself from the past, glamming up in response to all the dark times she had gone through. Later she acknowledged the image was also in honour of her late mother, a Vegas lounge singer who wore similar stage outfits designed by Bob Mackie and who had a mole in the exact same spot on her chest. Continue reading “On Album Covers, Judgement and Objectification”

Album Review: Jenny Lewis – On The Line

A few weeks back I listened to Zane Lowe interview Jenny Lewis about her new album On The Line – an interview in which he spent most of the time discussing the men featured on this record, rather than Jenny herself. Even after everything Jenny Lewis had achieved she was still being considered in terms of who she was working with, rather than on her own merits. The recent revelations about one of the producers of this record have threatened to further overshadow this release. So it is pretty wonderful to report that most of the reviews and features written about On The Line have focused on Jenny’s music, life and legacy (unsurprisingly most of these have been written by women).

The fact that Jenny’s music has been so universally celebrated is important. Not every women artist gets that recognition and attention. What then can the humble blogger really contribute to this discussion you might wonder, when there are so many incisive and illuminating discussions of this album already out there? To be honest I have spent the last week wondering the same thing myself. I recently reviewed the new album by The Wild Reeds (whose music owes a debt to Jenny for sure) and I felt confident that it was important I wrote about an album that had received few other online reviews. In contrast there doesn’t seem much more I can add to the already determined facts about On The Line: this is indeed a brilliant album and some of the best work of Jenny’s career. But then I heard Jenny’s voice singing to me ‘do something, while your heart is thumping’ so I decided just to write anyway. Continue reading “Album Review: Jenny Lewis – On The Line”

Under Her Influence: Songs Inspired by Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’

Since it’s the 3rd of June I thought we’d take a walk down to Tallahatchie Bridge and contemplate the influence of Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ on country music and beyond. I wrote about this song, and Bobbie herself, at length last year in my post ‘Bobbie Gentry and the Power of Mystery’ but today I wanted to focus on how she has inspired the songwriting of so many others.

Continue reading “Under Her Influence: Songs Inspired by Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’”

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