Guitarist/Vocalist/Songwriter Paul Edelman,Jangling Sparrows Release New Album, ‘Telecoaster;’ Perform at Sugar Magnolia Cafe (At Wake Forest Listening Room) In Winston Salem, NC
Spend ‘An Evening with The Jangling Sparrows‘ (Duo) at Sugar Magnolia Cafe, (at The Wake Forest Listening Room), 219 South White Street, Friday, December 3. Showtime: 7pm. Tickets: $12. Info: (919) 818-4738 or visit https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/8407826/an-evening-with-the-jangling-sparrows-duo-show-wake-forest-magnolia-roots.
On November 1 Jangling Sparrows released Telecoaster, the follow-up and sister album to 2020’s critically-acclaimed Bootstraps And Other American Fables. Telecoaster takes an even-deeper dive into themes of the human condition, the culture-at-large, and our place in it.
Telecoaster generates an exciting “Vintage” sonic experience with songs that, while fresh and unique, still find a retro quality with songs actually recorded on an old reel to reel analog machine. “This record is so alive to me. It was largely a collaborative process with the producer at Marshal Sound, Amos McGregor,” says Edelman, long renown as the talented, cerebral front-person for Asheville roots-rock ensemble, Jangling Sparrows. “His input was integral. We kept experimenting and things kept changing and growing. I ended up trashing half the songs to write music that I felt was more about where this was going. I was actually writing half the album while we were recording the other half.”
In keeping with the retro theme, this is an album experience, meant to be listened to front to back. A journey, a roller coaster ride with guitars. Hence the title. Ironically perhaps, dealing with modern times and looking forward is a big theme throughout this body of work. A little nod to the best parts of the past maybe just the ticket to navigate the future confidently.
“Ready Or Not”
The concepts of tranquility, calm and peace, relaxation can be all too elusive. I think people make the mistake of seeing these things as rewards after some large endeavor or as things that happen to you at a certain stage in life but, in fact, they are a practice. You can feel like you’ve earned them all you want to but unless they are practiced they won’t arrive. Conversely, if you do practice them these states can be achieved under any adversity and help navigate that adversity. So sometimes you just have to make yourself relax. That sounds counterintuitive but it isn’t. So in this song I muse on some of life’s larger puzzles that don’t really have answers and then ask you to forget them.
“Hey There Brother”
Talking with, listening to someone that is going through a tough time is a large theme in my life and it manifests in songs often. This is another one of those. Just like Estuaries from Bootstraps and Other American Fables I am trying to show empathy and understanding. The verses are filled with scenarios that, hopefully, demonstrate that I am not just providing empty rhetoric but that I have these experiences. I’ve been there and I know how pain and hopelessness feel. In this way, I hope that my message lands, that you are not alone and there is an end. I am hinting to the person I’m singing to that they have what they need to overcome. It’s there to tap into.
This song is about communicating in the age of social media. I believe social media is making us more and more disconnected even as we reach more people. I absolutely feel that it’s tugging uncomfortably hard at the threads of our social fabric. The point of view of this song is to say that you still have an impact and you are still someone. Though a lot of us wrestle with what to say and how to say it on social media, I think it’s vital to remember there is still a person behind the screen. And it’s not so much for some to remember that about others but about themselves.
“I Still Love Rock and Roll”
The third of three recorded reel to reel. Part social commentary, part fun, this song is pretty self explanatory. With a world increasingly falling into division and conspiracy, and our technology moving faster than our morality, there’s one thing I can always rely on to be exactly what it is. Rock and Roll is visceral, honest and raw and in that way it’s more important than ever. We need rock and Roll. Rock and roll saves lives and I’ll always stand by that.
As I get older I find myself having a lot of conversations with friends who, more and more, reminisce about earlier days. I’m not against that but it starts to get into a mode where they just seem to have given up. They don’t have any more pursuits or goals for themselves so they look to a time when they were hungry, romantically. They’re stuck mentally and it seems to me that the mindset is, if I don’t think about the future, It won’t come. I won’t die. But it keeps coming and they keep looking further and further back as if the person they are now has less and less to offer the world. But I’m a forward thinking person, I am always working to achieve new things and my life is very much not over in that way. The song is an understanding of that frame of mind and an acknowledgement that sometimes one has to summon courage to progress or change as we age.
“Dance Around the Fire”
While a phony will put layers over themselves to come off as someone they’re not, there is another, more insidious social phenomenon where people have layers underneath and inside them that they themselves are not necessarily aware of. These layers manifest in world views that protect them in deeply internalized ways. Trying to find common ground with someone like that can be next to impossible. They will often go to great lengths to protect those views because they feel those views protect them, even as things are falling apart. This song is a plea to those people and a commentary about how damaging that mindset can be collectively.
“Ghost of 8th and Tasker”
8th and Tasker is where I used to live in South Philadelphia. I never quite fit in there and at the time it spurred a lot of self-conscious musing whenever I walked to or from my apartment. But I’ve always had a penchant for seeing the beauty in starkness. That’s how I made myself fit in, by turning myself into a ghost of sorts. As in the theme of Rain On the Rooftop, the more I am mentally checked out, the better I can see my surroundings.
“I Got Your Number”
Recorded Analog on Reel to Reel, this one goes out to all the phonies. I’ve always had a strong radar for BS and it’s managed, for the most part, to keep the right people away from me. The thing about phonies is that most of them know what they’re doing and can sense when someone else can spot it, so they don’t like that person around. That’s me. I’ve been told on several occasions that people think I have an intimidating presence but I believe that the only people who are uncomfortable around me are the ones who feel in danger of being exposed.
This is a song about a good friend leaving town. Sometimes these things hit a lot harder than we ever suspected. Our friendships become things we define ourselves by. When someone leaves it can feel like the rug has been pulled out from under your life. That’s what this is. It’s a struggle to redefine myself after being with the same people, the same group for so long. This one is very personal but I’m hoping it rings with others.
“Flags You Don’t Fly”
Dignity is a very important theme for me. In some ways that’s what this is about. It’s about how we all carry around pain or trauma in some way and we must bear it as best we can. It’s not about blocking things out or “manning up”, but there comes a point where, no matter what, we just have to live our lives. And the way our painful experiences manifest in ourselves as we move forward is a very crucial part of us. I believe that the purpose of pain is to see it in others. This song is a recognition of the things people carry inside them. After it is no longer practical to cry, or blame or wallow, how does our experience manifest? In our expressions, our demeanor, our tone of voice. The pathos in our style. This is another one recorded Analog on Reel to Reel.
“The Feather and the Well”
About a couple that can’t work it out. But more broadly, It’s about how when relationships get difficult we seclude ourselves behind old, outmoded thinking. Thoughts that don’t work anymore but they always kept us safe before so we go to them because they are familiar. It’s all we know until we can shed that old skin. But people too often default to self-protection over self advancement without even realizing it.In this way it’s thematically similar to Dance Around the Fire but on an intimate scale rather than cultural. At the song’s crescendo one of them realizes it. Whether or not it’s too late is up to the listener and their personal experience.
“Rain on the Rooftop”
This one is really more of a personal muse. It may be something only living in the city can produce. Walking around aimlessly for hours isn’t exclusively a city thing but the visuals are sure different. There’s a lot more to block out and in that way, it can enable a more cloistered headspace. This song is a snapshot of me on one of my many spacey walks through Philly, thinking about things as I’m one to do. Mulling around the undoubtedly poisonous relationship I would have been in, trying to untie knots. And, as such, it’s something of a snapshot of the city itself.
About Paul Edelman and Jangling Sparrows
Paul Edelman, song interpreter, songwriter, guitarist, poet and performer, fronts Asheville, North Carolina-based group, Jangling Sparrows. Edelman can be found sitting comfortably in Roots Rock, Country, Folk, Soul or Storyteller. His lyrics have a way of making people feel understood and his emotional vocal delivery underscores that ability. Edgy and misty, his vocals often go from a holler to a whisper seamlessly and with crisp intention. He has been compared to John Prine, Townes Van Zandt and Jay Farrar for his ability not just to create a picture with words but a whole movie with the music.
No Depression Magazine called Jangling Spaarows “one of the best Americana bands we have heard this year, and would love to see their live performance.” It’s not unusual to see Asheville, NC-based Jangling Sparrows on stage as a solo act, a duo, or even a full band. The local outfit is the project of singer-songwriter Paul Edelman, who deftly bounces from a folk sound as a solo artist to blue-collar rock ‘n’ roll with his band behind him.
Jangling Sparrows’ previously-released 140 Nickels was voted a “Best Indie Album” selection by the L.A. Music Critic Awards, who added, “Watch for these guys near the top of the Americana music scene!”. Their single “Highway Jawn” was described by Indie Pulse Music as “fun, rich and dynamic…Paul Edelman and Jangling Sparrows take their sound to the limit and bring you into their world, with a country, blues, rock and folk-inspired sound that captures the listener and takes them on a wild hay ride.”
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