The vivid portraits Jake La Botz paints in his songs can take us straight into the depths of human experience. Sometimes mournful, occasionally comical, and always soulful La Botz’s offbeat sensibilities, emotional availability, and melodic intuition animate his brand of rootsy-Americana.
Much has previously been written about La Botz learning the blues from Delta originators like Honeyboy Edwards and Homesick James. His work as an actor has also been covered extensively. But one aspect of his creativity, the most important part by La Botz’s estimation, has been mostly left unsung – his many years of meditation practice and teaching. For over 20 years, La Botz has been steeping within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
Like other spiritually motivated songwriters before him, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison to name a few, the two streams of songwriting and spirituality have very much come together for La Botz. Prior to Covid, he taught meditation in prisons, Buddhist centers, living rooms, and elsewhere, ever looking to meet people where they are at and share what meditation has to offer. Similarly, La Botz has performed in tattoo shops, churches, subways, street corners, and traditional venues – anywhere people might want to come together through music. For La Botz both meditation and music are very important points of connection with others, and sometimes his music fans even end up practicing meditation with him.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the video for La Botz’s new single “First McDonell’s on the Moon.” The oddball song title should indicate that this is not just another middle of the road folk song. Channeling the likes of Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, and Justin Townes Earl, La Botz sings with a sly swagger that complements the loping instrumental. The video, which is composed of cardboard cutout animation and is loaded with pop culture and political references, only adds to the darkly humorous lyricism. In his signature roots-folk style, La Botz manages to make a powerful statement about our role on this planet, consumerism, and classism to make for some heady stuff.
La Botz describes the inspiration behind the tune:
What happens if we don’t figure out how to stop destroying each other and the earth? This dystopian blues groover takes us on a space mission to witness the toll of materialism through the lens of a cosmic fast food chain. Bernie Sanders and Trump, among others, manage to come along for this wild ride.