Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Uncommon Folk: Jennifer O'Connor

Uncommon Folk is a feature in which artists we admire talk about the music that inspired and influenced their own work. We are thrilled to have Matador artist Jennifer O'Connor provide the latest entry, on her album Over the Mountain, Across the Valley, and Back to the Stars. On this album O'Connor hits the sweet spot between honesty and mystery, aided by her engaging, conversational voice, indelible melodies and lyrics that confide of abject darkness and guarded hope in an all-too-believable way.

I wrote my most recent record, Over the Mountain, Across the Valley, and Back to the Stars, during the summer of 2005 (for the most part). The album that I remember listening to quite a lot during this time was Wilco's Summerteeth. I'm not really sure why, but I kept coming back to that record, especially whenever I was driving around in my car. I think I hoped that I could create something as far-reaching and ambitious as that record felt to me when I was listening to it. (In the end, I think my record kind of feels like the opposite of that!) I think another reason I was drawn to it was the failing/struggling relationship theme that runs through most of the record...as I was dealing with a similar issue at the time.

I also remember listening to Spoon's Gimme Fiction quite a lot. But they are one of my favorites and one of their records seems to always be in my current rotation. I think the exceptionally strong sense of rhythm on this release may have inspired me to do a few things differently rhythmically than I had done previously.

MP3: Spoon - I Turn My Camera On

Oh, and Laura Veirs' Year of Meteors. That was my favorite record of last year so I'm sure that got some play during that time as well!!!

MP3: The Young Rapture Choir - Magnetized (Laura Veirs)

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Matador has put up a few tracks from Over the Mountain:

MP3: Jennifer O'Connor - Exeter, Rhode Island
MP3: Jennifer O'Connor - Today

Her new eMusic-exclusive EP, with a Dylan cover and three originals, is yours with a free trial (along with 21 others) - just try to resist the pull of the eMusic siren song...

Max out your JOC bag with an incredible Daytrotter session full of stripped-down goodness.

After you've filled your satchel with all that free musical swag and bought Over the Mountain, catch her live:

December 13 (tonight!) New York, NY Happy Ending Lounge (Happy Ending Reading Series w/ readers Leanne Shapton, Chris Leo and Marcellus Hall, 8pm, FREE)
December 29 Tampa, FL New World Brewery
January 5 Hoboken, NJ Maxwell's w/ Kevin Devine & Pablo
January 10 New York, NY The Living Room w/Anders Parker
February 16 Washington, DC Rock and Roll Hotel w/Kevin Devine, Pablo, Koufax