In 2015, Joseph and the Jackmormons went into TRI Studios with Dave Schools and walked out with 20 songs. Those songs became the albums Istanbul/Fog Of War and By The Time Your Rocket Gets to Mars. The plan was to release a third album, an EP, with the remaining three finished songs supplemented by couple of new songs that Joseph would write. The plan went sideways.
“I rented a tiny house about a mile from my home so I could write but be home for dinner and kid bedtime. I ended up writing a fistful of songs. It was cold early January but a perfect place to write. Weird stuff was happening in general, one of those weeks where I had my copy of Black Star and David Bowie died,” Joseph recalls. “I tend to do the mad scribble thing when I write.”
When after a week of writing, Joseph arrived at Jackpot Studios, Dave Schools was adamant they record all the new songs. They also recorded a couple written in Scotland, “Sweet Baba Jay” and “Late Heavy Bombardment” and a few that they’ve been performing, but had never recorded. “The past few years we’ve been trying to figure out album slots for some of the hundred originals that are part of our live repertoire but have never been recorded, like ‘Wild Wild West’ which has been around since the late 90s,” remarks Joseph. The “tiny house” songs became the core of Weird Blood, which is out on Cavity Search Records November 17th.
Weird Blood is Joseph’s third album released in as many years with his band the Jackmormons, which includes Steve Drizos on drums and Steven James Wright on bass, and was once again produced by frequent collaboratorDave Schools. Part of what makes Schools such a good producer is the fact that he is also a huge fan of Joseph’s work. In a recent interview with Glide‘s Neil Ferguson, Schools heaped praise on Joseph, calling him “another one of America’s great songwriters, incredible songwriter.”
Today Glide is excited to premiere the album’s opening track, “Sweet Baba Jay”. Joseph’s vocals kick in immediately over a stark keyboard and drumbeat, reminiscent of Elvis Costello but with more of the defiant punk edge that has defined much of the rocker’s work. From there the song erupts into a straightforward roots rocker that seems to swell with angst and aggression, coming out of the gate strong and signaling to the listener that once again Jerry Joseph is here to get a few things off his chest and you best damn listen. Musically and vocally, the song taps into a sort of UK pub rock glory, but with a Joseph’s own unique and vivid storytelling at the helm.
Joesph shares the story behind the song:
“City of Bohane is a Irish novel by Kevin Barry, about a futuristic imaginary west Ireland city. I was turned on to it in a Mullingar bookstore. The writer created a pathos, not unlike Anthony Burgess’s Clockwork Orange, where ‘sweet baby Jesus ‘ has morphed into ‘sweet baba jay’ (Pakistani, Hindi, Rasta, Irish Catholic goodness). Also my daughter Anjali (3 at the time) had looked up at my wife and said ‘mama you’re a princess ‘ my wife said ‘no Anjali, you are a princess’. Anjali responded, ‘no mama, I’m the dark side’ (and then proceeded to run around the house naked with a sword). Somehow alone in Edinburgh on a dark ass rainy night I mashed these two things up, and as I’m wont to do, wrote another imaginary ‘anthem for my stadium shows’ song. Unclear how Moon River got in there… When I’m in IRE or the UK I tend to write a lot of songs in 3/4 (my secret Waterboys jam), fortunately the band convinced me, in a rehearsal in Bath, to turn it into a proper rock song. These kinds of songs are cool for us because they come together like meatloaf or cobbler – mix, bake, serve – and it’s good the next day! Plus, your dinner guests think you slaved all day over it (Good Housekeeping magazine wink here).”
Jerry Joseph Releases Weird Blood on Cavity Search Records on November 17. For more music and info visit jerryjoseph.com.
Photo credit: Tony Morey.