Amber Nash Artist in Residence

With a closet full of boots, a heart full of wander and a soul full of songs, the charming and multi-talented Kentucky “Wonky Tonk” woman releases her debut album Stuff We Leave Behind in hopes of continuing her Wonky ways with a lighter heart in lieu of finding the Neverland in all of us.

Jasmine Lorraine “Wonky Tonk” Poole grew up in the hard scrabble portion of the American heartland. Kentucky, to be precise. Her world of loss and longing is familiar terrain for lovers of country, bluegrass and folk music but, just as Kentucky can be viewed as a bridge between north and south, Wonk’s music blends elements of Indie/Alternative rock with old school country. It’s hard to separate the wonk from the tonk. Nor should you try.

Wonk’s influences, John Prine, Guy Clark, Modest Mouse and Loretta Lynn among them (especially Loretta), are apparent but her music is not derivative. Loretta, Skeeter Davis, Iris Dement and Jenny Lewis come to mind but none of her comparables quite pin her down. Wonk is her own cowgirl. “Cowgirls get up in the morning, decide what to do and do it”, she was told as a child. Fiercely independent but naturally shy Jasmine uses her alter ego and blue cowgirl boots to deal with the notion of impossibly cruel but equally exhilarating existence.

One byproduct of youthful innocence is a constant disappointing, bewildering surprise:

You used to call me baby
You used to call me darlin’
Now you don’t call me at all

Another is vulnerability and manipulability:

In the greasy ballroom
You whispered in my ear
Darlin’ life is a gamble, romance a drug
The whole world is dancin'
Won’t you give in and love

Her eleven song debut release Stuff We Leave Behind deals with the necessity of moving on at critical points in your life. Stuff that once seemed important must be cast aside, ex-lovers relegated to the shadows. “Heartbreak makes the jukebox play”, she was once told. Her song titles reflect her wandering spirit and a fascination with time and place. “Cleveland." “Denmark." “Tennessee." “Montague Road." A veteran troubadour at such a tender age, Wonk has toured Europe with the same restless drive as her native Northern Kentucky.

Tom Robbins told us that even Cowgirls Get the Blues but all is not remorse and regret. Jangly sunshine pops through the clouds unexpectedly, such as in “Parkland Avenue” (arguably the best track). Though softly. Without the glare.

Wonk’s lyrics are worth a read even without the music. The album tracks her evolution as an artist and a person. The gravel, rutted road to an emerging wisdom.

Tennessee didn’t you hear
Money’s not real and neither is fear

Pay attention to Wonk. Not just because she is talented and beautiful. Pay attention because she has an important purpose. To help you remember. To help you forget. Or to help you remember why you chose to forget.

With love from Kentucky,

Wonky Tonk

Kelly Thomas has been the first lady of Cincinnati Country for the better part of a decade; founder of the charitable Rivertown Music Club and member of an impossible number of bands and projects, including Second Sister, the Tammy WhyNots, the Hayseed Tabernacle Choir, her solo work and her duo with 500 Miles to Memphis’ Ryan Malott. But perhaps her purest Country pursuit is her work with the Fabulous Pickups, which has been honky tonking up area joints since 2005, and which only hit the studio for the first time last year to create Fly, the Pickups’ debut recording and, amazingly, the first time Thomas has done a full album of her own songs (okay, “Beast of Burden” wasn’t hers, but she totally owned it). Not surprisingly, Thomas and the Pickups reeled in a CEA nomination for Best Country Artist, but then the first lady of Cincinnati Country should get used to being recognized as the best. Dig: Rosanne Cash and Tammy Wynette lag cue balls for the privilege of kicking Garth Brooks’ ass. (BB)

of The Perfect Children

The Perfect Children are the romp and stomp;the fresh wound of broken love;laughing in spite of pain.They are a girl with something to say and a boy to help deliver the message,cathartic but engaging.Their energy is infectious,the notes ring out and the space between is an emotional exhalation-personal but vague.They live at the intersection of Holly Golightly,Dex Romweber,Nina Simone,Al Green and Otis Redding.They play from the gut,heart,and soul and are rough,raw, and real.They will guilt trip you into getting outta your seats,their dirty showcase further punctuated by 2 backing vocalists who aid in lifting the stage off the floor and blowing the doors off the joint.To quote Little Richard,they will curl up under your big toe.

It's as if word of the sheer intensity witnessed at The Perfect Children's live show has gone viral In just under 2 years, the band's sonic stew of gospel, garage, blues, rock and even punk has created a buzz that's leaving jaws open, rumps shakin' and feet stompin'. With singer/songwriter Kristen Kreft (Pearlene/J. Dorsey Blues Revival) at the helm, the dynamic duo of Beth Harris(The Hiders/Pearlene/Owner and Operator of The Listing Loon) and Nicole Potter Borngrebe on backing vox, and the rhythm section inertia of Adam Shelton(RX2/Kallip) on drums and bass player Victor Strunk (Magnolia Mountain/Me Or The Moon), the vocal velocity of this frenetic force will etch an impression that will last. They are something to behold.

Moriah Lawson

Sassy Molasses' Moriah Haven Lawson is known to put the sass in Grasshopper Juice. The mandolin virtuoso and record label "intern" has played with the likes of Wonky Tonk, Billy Wallace and the Virginia Blues, family bluegrass act Lawson Reunion, and occasionally gigs with Chick Pimp, Coke Dealer at a Bar.

Moriah performed solo and with three bands at the 2009 AYE Music & Art Festival. She has shared a stage with such notables as Rachel Goodrich, Peter Rowan, Jessica Lea Mayfield, The Macpodz, The Rumpke Mountain Boys, and The Pomegranates.

Now, she has joined forces with Thom Curran (Formerly of the Atriums) on bass, and Michael J. Hamilton (The Flux Capacitors, Vaudeville Freud) on drums to folk up your lonely little world.

Culling out every influence they've hidden in their delicious nooks & crannies, they truly create something unique, yet, oddly familiar. Grabbing inspiration out of every genre spanning from country blues, Patsy Cline, funk, bluegrass, to even a tad bit o' metal, composed with a twisted pop sensibility. Teaming all that with Moriah's steamy, smarmy lyrics creates one hot, delicious mess you won't soon forget.

The Sassy Molasses "4 Ep's Project" is in its developmental stages. Lawson Reunion's sophomore release is currently in post-production, Lawson contributing Vocals and Mandolin.

"On mandolin, Moriah Lawson had my “musician crush” vote for the night. Amazing to watch. Barefoot, with brown straight, short hair hanging in her face, her fingers move in a mad blur, and she’s the real thing." - C.A. MacConnell, CityBeat



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