“These aren't necessarily the songs I wanted to write, but they were the ones I had to write,” Jenny O. says of the material that became Peace & Information, her sophomore record, and the second she’s collaborated on with producer Jonathan Wilson. “I wrote my way out of a difficult time,” she says. The result is a group of songs about increased intuition, the pursuit of self-actualization, unrequited love, PTSD, equality, and garbage, among other things.
After O.'s first album, Automechanic, was released, she spent the bulk of two years on the road in support of acts like Father John Misty, Leon Russell, and Rodriguez. She confesses, “I’m into music but I’m not an extrovert. I’m really sensitive and each tour presents new dynamics to surf through. When you’re in a bad place spiritually but obligated to perform, the shows feel like fraud. I wanted it to stop until I could get my shit together.” The end of the album cycle prompted a move to Nashville for a while. “I felt like riding a bicycle in a mellow town—being transient, elsewhere,” she explains.
Jenny moved into an 18th-century log cabin and spent eight months reading, working, and recuperating in her vaulted bedroom until the structure was bulldozed to make way for condominiums. “It was the cheapest, most beautiful, and the most necessary place I’ve ever lived,” she says. It was here that she wrote the songs that became Peace & Information.
Jenny O. returned to Los Angeles to record the album with Jonathan Wilson, who has also produced albums for Father John Misty, Conor Oberst and Dawes. "We recorded to tape, like last time. The whole record was tracked and mixed in 17 days," Jenny says. "We both draw from all kinds of music so the album is pretty varied. This time we used more synthesizers and grunge guitars, and there's a bossa nova on there too."
Peace & Information comes out on August 4, 2017 on Holy Trinity Records.
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Richard Edwards (...for at least a few songs)

Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset

Richard Edwards

by Rhett Miller

Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset, the intense and intensely personal new album from erstwhile Margot And The Nuclear So & So’s frontman Richard Edwards, battled its way into existence against the longest of odds. Richard Edwards’ first solo album is the phoenix that rose from the ashes of a scrapped record, a scrapped marriage and a broken body. Less haunting than haunted, it bears a roadmap of scars, a cartography that, if traced back, leads to a much happier time.

There is a yellow house in Indianapolis across the street from a public park. A screened back porch where each night a young mother and father smoke a few guilty cigarettes and drink a few microbrews. There is a brilliant, muscular, challenging new Margot record called Sling Shot To Heaven. Then a tour, ill-fated, truncated and generally doomed. The young father is home all the time now, gripped by a mysterious illness that starts in his gut and reaches out to the farthest corners of the yellow house.

He finds just enough strength to muster an occasional smile for the daughter who bounces through the yellow house, scattering sunbeams like a flower-girl might scatter rose petals down an aisle at a wedding.

When the days are darkest, he is granted a reprieve. Some folks in an organization called MusiCares come to his rescue. Maybe he imagines these folks or maybe they're angels but the reprieve is real enough.

Suddenly he’s writing songs and riding bikes. Playing in the yard and pulling his weight around the house. He chronicles the battle against his own body and turns it into an album. An examination of absence. Probably mind-bogglingly great, but who will ever know? He shelves this record, deciding it’s either too true or not true enough. Although things are going well, he can’t help but agonize.

His newfound health has him thinking bigger. He learns that a well-known producer in California has fallen in love with Sling Shot… The young man wants to work with the producer. He re-writes and conspires. He robs a bank or something, somehow cobbling together the money to get to LA and see all this agony reach some sort of redemptive climax.

But he starts to feel sick again, losing forty pounds like his body is the outro to a sad song fading away. He flies to Los Angeles in spite of this. He spends the winter in the studio, tracking by day and sleeping on the tracking room floor by night.

And that’s when, as the song says, things get weird.

What awaits him at home is a new and larger devastation. The yellow house disappears. There are divorce papers and tears and a sudden iciness that can’t be blamed on the Indiana winter.

He lives then in a friend’s basement. The doctors cut open his stomach. The young man is an old man now. He wanders around Indianapolis with his cane. He eats mostly painkillers. He returns to Los Angeles. With his cane. And embarks on a lost weekend that lasts a month. He is now re-writing songs he’s written twice already, re-recording songs he’s recorded in two different cities now. He is circling back in arcing loops, rebuilding emptiness, closing in on a platonic ideal of despair. He is somewhere distant now. Off so far that the deep end is just a blip on the horizon.

What does he do in this moment of decision? Does he give in to this darkest of desires? Does he strike out against this body that betrays him? Or does he do the hard thing, the brave thing and convert this terror into something useful, something beautiful, something that works the kind of magic that reanimates a person?

He comes back to himself. To us.

Richard Edwards made Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset in Los Angeles where no one ever dies and heartbreak is golden and the cold Pacific Ocean wants to eat you and spit you out again as a new man.

There is no band now. There is no cryptic moniker behind which this new man hides. There is just Richard Edwards, who isn’t dead or even dead-eyed, who hasn’t disappeared or been delivered. He has emerged

It's Just Craig

It’s Just Craig started as a planned mid-life crisis just before Craig’s 40th Birthday. Craig ran off to San Francisco with ten songs and six friends, Elijah Ford, John Vanderslice, Marc Ford, Kirsten Ford, Jason Slota and Rob Shelton. They put those ten songs on two inch tape at Tiny Telephone and convinced Bernie Grundman to master the record and cut the lacquers. And, with that, Blood On The Table was born.

In today’s world, when making an album you can fix everything – pitch shifting vocals, playing parts to death until they are “perfect” manipulating everything until you’ve completely removed the soul from the original song. We intentionally didn’t do that. All the songs on Blood On The Table were done with the drums, initial guitar, keys and vocals together and usually in one or two takes. Sure, there are mistakes, but they translate as cool moments, they communicate the essence of the songs they are in. They give the record life. As J.V. is fond of saying, “You have to be willing to leave a little blood on the table.”

Craig didn’t know what to expect when putting out the record. He didn’t expect to be asked to play at his favorite Indianapolis venue (the HiFi), guest on The DoitIndy Radio Hour, be featured on amazing music blogs like the Revue, to have his album featured at Record Store Day at Luna Music, to have his story written up in the Indiana Lawyer, to play seven shows – including opening for Jenny O.and Robert Ellis (two of Craig’s personal favorites), to have more than 1,000 copies in circulation (digital, CD, & Vinyl), to have people streaming it every single day, to licence a song for commercial use … and who would have expected significant radio airplay in Europe? Certainly not Craig.

When M.P. Cavalier interviewed Craig for the DoitIndy Radio Hour, he asked what was next for It’s Just Craig. Going into the interview, Craig had expected the radio show to be the bookend on the project. Write ten songs, record them with amazing friends and musicians, have them mastered by an icon, release them on all formats, sell out the HiFi, and do a radio performance and interview seemed like all one could ask for. However, over that twenty minutes, Craig realized how important creating had become for him. He realized he didn’t know how to, or want to stop. He realized, inevitably, there would be more.

Now, Craig has written eight more songs, and with the same core group of friends, and with Jess and Kelsey from Von Strantz, they are recording album #2, tentatively titled Dark Corners, starting March 31, 2017, in Oakland, CA at Tiny Telephone Oakland.

This album is a concept album that follows the journey of a cargo boat captain from the moment he leaves home, on his sometimes lonely journey, getting stranded within view of his destination port, fighting (or not fighting) temptations of the sea, struggling with being out of sync with his partner on land, and ultimately deciding whatever it was he was deciding, of course he’s too late, and whichever direction is no longer open to him, so he sails off alone, still thinking of what he missed.

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