Paul Edelman, singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet and performer, fronts Asheville, North Carolina-based group, Jangling Sparrows. 140 Nickels, Edelman’s fourth release and the second with Jangling Sparrows, comes with exciting new influences, a term he has coined, “Zyde-Folk”. While staying firmly grounded in Roots Rock/Americana, there are some distinct flirtations with second-line feels on several tracks.
From the songwriter that says, “style is just another tool for expression.”, Edelman still wears his songwriter badge on his sleeve with poignant lyrics and emotional delivery. On 140 Nickels he adds big, fun rhythms and high caliber guitar chops. The Asheville, NC band’s most recent album 140 Nickels album was voted a “Best Indie Album of 2017” selection by the L.A. Music Critic Awards, who added, “Watch for these guys near the top of the Americana music scene!”. 140 Nickels has received stellar reviews from national publications No Depression, The Alternate Root, Music Connection and more, plus extended national/international airplay.
IPM: What’s the “latest and greatest” with Paul Edelman and Jangling Sparrows?
PE: Hey man! What’s up. Well, I’m in mixing stage of another album. I’m really excited about it, it’s gonna be a barn burner. It’ll be filled with songs already in the current live show so there will be a continuity with the last disc. I’ll be looking to put out a single soon. Had some lineup changes that I’m going through, so I’ll be looking forward to introducing a new rhythm section. The last guys were great but they had some family obligations that were too pressing.
IPM: How has the accelerated advent of music streaming and continued advancement in the use of Social Media figured into the ongoing promotion of your band?
PE: It’s just another avenue of approach to learn and understand. It’s not my best area but then again, no area of marketing is. It may be a pain but I do think it’s rise represents a somewhat more “democratic” playing field in the world of indie music, which is good overall. The downside is, in my opinion, the field can get flooded with a lot of hacks and part-timers that can succeed not because of the merits of their music but because they’re adept at social media. Overall though, I think it’s good and necessary.
IPM: Let’s face it, The Trump Era aren’t exactly happy times. Have you written (or contemplated writing) any songs that deal with the times we’re now in?
PE: There are a few coming up on the next disc. I’ve written “protest” songs in the past but I agree they are more relevant now than ever. Mine tend to be more about the overarching socio-political climate than any particular politician, more like how we as a nation are taking our own temperature. Don’t get me wrong, they’re scathing but aimed back at ourselves, but yes, I can’t think of a better time for them.
IPM: Ever co-written a song with your wife before (or considered doing so)?
PE: Funny you should ask. No. However, she has a background in musical theatre and has expressed interest in singing with me. It hasn’t worked out so far but I’ve consulted with her about the direction of a certain part of a song before. She’s a good sounding board.
IPM: Anything else either witty or useful you care to share with our readers?
PE: I was on the phone with my dad describing a bunch of BS that I was going through that seemed to be a function of my solitary position as band leader and in an expression of understanding he says ” Other than that Mrs. Lincoln how was the play?“. I thought that was funny. But you mentioned the current political climate. I see a lot of the vote shaming coming up again in preparation for the midterms so there are a few points that I think are worth making.
First, of the states that Hillary Clinton lost in the 2016 election, in only three of those states was her percentage smaller than the percentage of Stein’s votes, and in those three states, Gary Johnson’s percentage was double both those above numbers combined. Meaning she would have lost them anyway. Further, there are several states she won where her margin of victory was smaller than Johnsons percentage, meaning without him she loses those states. Third-Party voting in no way negatively affected her outcome, in fact it helped her and it’s time to get off that narrative. It’s factually baseless and bad strategy to inspire voters.
Second, the 2016 election was second only in recent history in turn out to Barack Obama’s 2008 election, which if you remember was called a record turnout. The 2016 election was a greater turn out than his re-election, so while voter turnout, generally, is and should be an issue, it’s a highly spurious assessment to blame it for Clinton’s loss.
Third, immediately after Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy, there was a sharp upswing in Democratic affiliation nationally at the same time there was a sharp down swing in independent affiliation. Meaning, Independents were registering Democrat in order to vote for Sanders. This swing was in the high millions, in fact a greater margin than Clinton won the popular vote. So, Sanders’ in the primary got more people to vote for Clinton than if he never entered. This myth of the protest vote is hack, anecdotal, emotional drivel, There’s no such thing. It’s sloganeering and, again, bad strategy and baseless.
We need to do better to get disenfranchised independents to care about voting. This shaming isn’t working.
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