Wonky Tonk and the High Life
Lessons & Lovers
by Roy Peak
Imagine a life put on hold. You're a musician about to release your third album. You travel to Ecuador for a quick trip and plan on returning to the States just in time for the album release and ensuing tour. (With Justin Townes Earle, no less. R.I.P.) Then the pandemic strikes, gigs are cancelled left and right, and with the current state of political and societal affairs in your home country, you decide that it just may be best for you to stay put indefinitely.
This is what happened to Jasmine Poole, AKA Wonky Tonk. All these months later, and she's still there.
Wonky Tonk definitely goes her own unique way, you can hear a little bit of Lucinda Williams, a smattering of Shari Elf, and even some Tywanna Jo Baskette (intended or not) and I'm loving Ms. Wonk for it. (Much like Elf and Baskette, Tonk's songs are witty, heartfelt, quirky, and wholly original.) Tonk rocks hard and tough, she's not afraid to get noisy when the song calls for it, and the contrast between an abled noisy rhythm section and Tonk's high, sweet voice adds even more angst on many of these tunes.
All I Ever Wanted:
A Rock 'n' Roll Memoir
review by Roy Peak
I'd been playing bass for a few years when the Go-Go's first album came out, so after a steady diet of Dee Dee Ramone, Bill Wyman, John Entwistle, and various surf rockers, the bouncy pop energy that Valentine brought to the punky Go-Go tunes was fun and refreshing. Solid, tight with the drums, always in motion, fluid and powerful. Definitely something my young rock & roll brain latched onto. As far as I know, I was the only one in my high school who liked them, as everyone else was into bands like Journey, Styx, and REO Speedwagon. Sigh.
Petronius' Last Meal
by Roy Peak
There's a lot of interesting tidbits of information about Mississippi born musician Afton Wolfe from his website, but it's this sentence at the end of his bio that really hits home for me: "By day, Afton goes by his first name, Steven, and practices law in Nashville, and by night he wears a hat and plays music." That's right, the thought that musicians are superheroes. Or at least they should be. By day: Living amongst the mortals. By night: Playing music as gods.