1019 E. Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ, 85014
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:30 PM
This event is 21 and over
Fellow Travelers wasn't supposed to be a full-length record, so I'm a little surprised to admit that it's my favorite Shearwater album so far. Somehow it slipped under the door.
It was meant to be a small thing, maybe a home-recorded EP, to release between Animal Joy and the next full-length (for which we're in the studio right now). But it took on a life of its own. Re-imagining and renovating songs by the bands we've toured with was like leafing through a scrapbook, and brought back the highs and lows of a decade of touring, from dives in Oklahoma and squats in Slovenia to the Fillmore West, the Bataclan, and the MGM Grand (ask me about that one sometime).
Audiences never see most of touring life, and it's the hidden moments that came to mind while we were recording. I thought of Chris Martin, pacing nervously in the bowels of the LA Forum, before the first show of a tour for an album on which EMI had staked its existence; of Brian Campbell, Clinic's indomitable bassist, muttering "I hate these f_____ things" before donning a grimy surgical mask for the thousandth time; of David Thomas Broughton wandering into an audience in Brussels mid-song, knocking things over and falling down, then slipping us a half-smile offstage; of Xiu Xiu hiding stuffed animals and candy in the stacks of a university library for their devoted fans to find; of Sharon Van Etten playing us the rough demos for the album that would put her on the map while she drove our van through the snowy Idaho mountains.
Touring is an expression of faith – in yourself, in your friends, in the hope that the world has a place for you. In that spirit, I invited all the bands we covered to play on Fellow Travelers, with the caveat that you couldn't play on your own song. Almost everyone rose to the bait: Chris from the Baptist Generals turned Clinic's "Tomorrow" into a bewildered, stomping incantation, while Clinic, in turn, infected the Generals' "Fucked Up Life" with drum machines, radio signals, and their trademark combo organ. I added recordings I made of birds and waves in the Falklands to David Thomas Broughton's "Ambiguity," and he sent us a tape he made of sparrows, bulbuls, and the clanking shovels of highway workers in Pyongyang, North Korea (long story), which we spliced into our rock-anthem version of Xiu Xiu's "I Luv the Valley OH!!" And Jenn from Wye Oak, who, like us, had also toured with Lou B, added vocals to "Natural One," our most straight-up reading of the bunch, since I couldn't think of a better way to honor a perfectly-constructed song.
Leon Trotsky, who gave the words "fellow travelers" their political aura, once wrote that "a protest against reality, either conscious or unconscious, active or passive, optimistic or pessimistic, always forms part of a really creative piece of work." Maybe that's why these songs seem like they belong together, to me. Listening back, I get a feeling of common effort, of common purpose, among all of our different musical paths; we've all tried to defy or transform reality in small ways with our music, and to prove it with our performing lives. Playing these songs felt like riding a wave.
— JM, NYC, March 2013
Jesca Hoop has lived all over the map, and her rich life experience is reflected in her distinctive voice and natural gift for inventive song craft.
Hoop learned to sing at an early age, harmonising with her musical Mormon family in northern California. She began writing highly idiosyncratic songs at the age of 14 to keep her company on her long walks to school. At 16, Hoop broke away from her strict upbringing and began what she calls her 'life as a racoon', off the grid & close to nature. Rambling through the high mountain deserts of the Southwest and along the coastlines of the Northwest, she worked as a wilderness survival guide and chalked up skills in farming, surveying, and carpentry. Her songwriting continued throughout, shared on porches, in deep river canyons and around campfires.
In 2004 the desire to share these songs on a broader scale set in. She settled in Los Angeles, where she honed her songwriting craft and developed a reputation as a unique and beguiling live performer of real substance. Though she now resides in Manchester, England, Hoop returned to Los Angeles to record her third album, The House That Jack Built.
Jesca has quite the growing collection of fans in high places: Tom Waits described her music as being "like a four sided coin. She is an old soul, like a black pearl, a good witch or red moon. Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night". Peter Gabriel took her to South America to sing with him, and in recent years she has been hand picked to play as support on tour for Eels, Andrew Bird, Punch Brothers, Shearwater and Elbow: Elbow's Guy Garvey even has her do regular stints as guest presenter on his BBC radio show, to great reception.
The follow up to 2009's critically acclaimed Hunting My Dress, this new record displays a striking duality: light and dark, head and heart, it juxtaposes the macabre and visceral with a disarmingly candid intimacy. The resulting combination is powerfully evocative, with overarching themes of biology, nature and humanity – Hoop's stone-turning observations are mired in the equal beauty and violence of a nature that, for her, is clearly red in tooth and claw.
The Rhythm Room
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