Jimbo Mathus: Incinerator
515-B North McDonough St.
Decatur, GA, 30030
Doors 6:30 PM / Show 7:30 PM
Multi-tasking musician from the Mississippi area with some slightly name variations. He is known as a drummer, guitarist, producer and engineer who recorded many famous artists in his studios. The first studio Delta Recording, Clarksdale, Mississippi was opend in 2003. He used antique microphones and tube amplifiers there. In 2007 he relocated to Delta Recording, Como, Mississippi.
“More often than I’d like to admit, I found myself paralyzed to my bed,” said Jackson, Mississippi native Spencer Thomas about the lows of his early twenties. In his last years pursuing a voice degree at Delta State University in the Mississippi delta, Thomas found just how debilitating mental illness could be. “I would have anxiety so bad that I would seize. My brain would shut down, and depression followed after. These spells subsided the more I worked on songs.”
Spencer had begun to collaborate with his best friend Zach Lovett and started to understand it’s more than a creative outlet. “The lowly moments turned into opportunities to write songs.” As their college band dissolved, the two went onto form Young Valley along with Zach’s twin brother Dylan Lovett.
“Zach taught me so much about writing, and I absorbed everything I could. He had been doing it for much longer and knew what made a song work. He helped me find my own identity.” The songwriting team took Young Valley on the road.
Spencer dropped out of school, moved back to Jackson, and toured with Young Valley heavily for the next five years playing the drums and singing, sharing the stage with acts like Lucero, Lilly Hiatt, American Aquarium, and Futurebirds. “I’d get the Don Henley or the Levon Helm comment all the time. It was hard as hell to learn to play drums and sing at the same time, but I managed. I always wanted to play in a real band.”
All the while, Thomas had written a few songs in his own time that didn’t fit the mold Young Valley had created. “We tried some tunes of mine that were a little more personal, and they didn’t quite fit, so I put them in my back pocket.” As Thomas’s influences matured, he realized the kind of songwriter he wanted to be. “I love guys like Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, and Bruce Springsteen. They sing for all people and took so many risks as songwriters with their sounds changing from record to record. Their creative freedom was astounding.”
After Petty’s death late 2017, Spencer decided to book studio dates for the songs he saved up on the side. “We’re only on this earth for so long. Tom Petty left behind a legacy and songs over a 40 year career and I said ‘I want to do that.’” Young Valley had just finished the final touches on their self-titled record in Water Valley, Mississippi with Matt Patton (Drive-By Truckers) and Bronson Tew (Fat Possum, Dial Back Sound), who welcomed Thomas in to bring his own record to life.
Teaming up with Tew as his producer/engineer/bass player, Young Valley band mates Ethan Frink (drums) and Kell Kellum (guitar), and Jay Gonzalez on organ (Drive-By Truckers), Hangin’ Tough was tracked in February 2018. “A lot of these songs come full circle to talk about depression. ‘State & Downing’ is about feeling stagnant. ‘Lift Me Up’ is about asking a loved one if they can help you when you are low. Many of these were born from dark places.’” Influenced by Jeff Lynne’s production style, Tew adopted the mantra “broad strokes” in order to preserve the magic within the song. “I let a close friend hear the record when it was finally mastered, and he sent me the text message ‘You wrote an album about depression—and it’s beautiful.”
Hangin’ Tough is out June 14th on all platforms. Spencer will tour Southeast upon release. He'll tour Midwest/East Coast in September, and West Coast in the Fall opening for Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster of Water Liars.