Homevibe & eTown present Jill Sobule w/ Darren Garvey (of Elephant Revival)
- When: November 17, 2018 Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
- Where: eTOWN HALL / 1535 Spruce Street, Boulder, CO 80302
- Cost: $20 // $25 DOS Plus Applicable Service Fees
Join us at eTown Hall for an intimate evening of music with Jill Sobule & Darren Garvey (of Elephant Revival)!
Unlike eTown's Live Radio Show Tapings, our 'Homevibe & eTown present' series are uninterrupted full concerts that take place in eTown's solar-powered home in Boulder, CO, eTown Hall.
Doors at 6:00pm
Show at 7:00pm
“Nostalgia can be wonderful and amazing. It’s OK to look back. But then you gotta get the fuck out of there.” So says singer-songwriter Jill Sobule, explaining the theme of her new album, Nostalgia Kills.
On Nostalgia Kills (out September 14 on Jill’s own Pinko Records), the woman hailed by The New York Times for making “grown-up music for an adolescent age” turns her warm wit and poet’s eye on herself more than ever before, revisiting moments from throughout her life that made her into the person she is today. It’s an especially poignant look back at childhood — “exorcising some junior high school demons,” as she puts it.
Looking back is a new experience for Jill Sobule. Ever since she first caught mainstream attention with her 1995 song “I Kissed a Girl” — the first song about same-sex romance ever to crack the Billboard Top 20 (and no relation to the later Katy Perry tune) — she’s always pushed forward, exploring new sounds and subject matter with each passing album and refusing to be pigeonholed by her early hits (which also include the ‘90s alt-rock anthem “Supermodel,” featured in an iconic scene in the film Clueless).
Along the way, Jill has shared stages with the likes of Billy Bragg, Cyndi Lauper and Warren Zevon, written music for TV and theater, and been a pioneer in the art of crowdfunding, raising so much money for her 2009 album California Years that a then-unknown startup called Kickstarter came to her for advice. She’s also been active in numerous social and political causes, performing at prisons as part of Wayne Kramer’s Jail Guitar Doors project, playing dates with Lady Parts Justice’s “Vagical Mystery Tour,” and curating Monster Protest Jams Vol. 1, featuring protest songs by Tom Morello, Billy Bragg, Boots Riley, Amanda Palmer, Jackson Browne and many other great artists — including Jill’s own “When They Say We Want Our America Back, What the F#@k Do They Mean?”, which traces the history of anti-immigrant sentiment in America.
For Nostalgia Kills, Jill worked with her good friend, Australian singer-songwriter Ben Lee, to cull the album’s 11 songs from a collection of over 100, representing nearly a decade’s worth of material accumulated since the release of California Years. In turning those songs into an album, she received a little extra motivation from an unlikely source.
“I was at an industry party,” she recalls. “And I heard this total douche saying, you know, once someone reaches the age of 40, they can’t write a good song. And I went up to him and I was like, ‘You don’t know me, but you’re an idiot.’”
Making it her mission to prove her new nemesis wrong, Jill took the songs into Lee’s home studio in Los Angeles with a supporting cast of players that included John Doe (X), Wayne Kramer (The MC5), Petra Haden (That Dog), Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish), and Richard Barone (The Bongos). “This was done with a lot of friends,” she says. “It was very organic.” Many of the final mixes even contain elements of the original demos, recorded with various apps on Jill’s iPad.
Right from the jump, Nostalgia Kills proves that this songwriter, despite being a few years north of 40, is still at the peak of her powers. How many artists of any age can write a song like “I Don’t Wanna Wake Up,” an Old Testament head trip inspired by a bad breakup, the death of a parent, and microdosing mushrooms? Let alone have the nerve to make it their album’s opening track?
From there, Nostalgia Kills explores its titular theme through a collection of songs that ponder the past without ever lapsing into easy sentimentality. “I Put My Headphones On,” as catchy as anything in Jill’s catalog, captures the cozy feeling of tuning out the outside world with a favorite record. “Almost Great” is a ukulele-laced ode to youthful brushes with success and adult battles with procrastination. “Forbidden Thoughts of Youth” is a beautifully rendered portrait of adolescent unrequited love, as Jill looks back at her first gay crush (“an incredible combination of Marcia Brady and future meth-smoking biker chick”).
“Headphones” and “Forbidden Thoughts” will be part of #Fuck7thGrade, a one-woman show about “the worst year of my life,” and just the latest of Jill’s many forays into theater. Nostalgia Kills features new versions of several of Jill’s best songs for the stage: “There’s Nothing I Can Do” is a defiant breakup anthem from the off-off-Broadway musical Prozak and the Platypus, sung from the perspective of a rebellious 17-year-old girl. “25 Cents” is from Times Square, a new musical based on the 1980 cult film of the same name — and Jill’s own memories of visiting New York City as a teenager, back when the city was still “scary and fascinating and full of junkies.” And the gorgeous ballad “Tomorrow Is Breaking My Heart” is one of several original songs Jill wrote for a new adaptation of Yentl, Isaac Bashevis Singer’s tale of gender-bending romance later made famous by Barbra Streisand’s film adaptation.
There are two versions of “Tomorrow Is Breaking” on Nostalgia Kills — a mournful duet with John Doe, and a special bonus track version featuring an amateur musician named Nicholas Ford, who made a pledge to the Nostalgia Kills Kickstarter campaign in which the prize was to sing a duet with Jill. “I decided to do it in a different style with a piano and he kicked ass,” she says proudly of Nicholas’ crooning accompaniment.
Nostalgia Kills’ bonus tracks also include “The Donor Song,” on which Jill gives shout-outs to her Kickstarter backers (including Avengers director and Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, whom Jill calls “my personal lord and savior” because he donated at the highest level), as well as lovely covers of The Stairsteps’ soul classic “O-o-h Child” and “Don’t Let Us Get Sick,” a heartbreakingly beautiful, late-career ballad by Jill’s friend and mentor, Warren Zevon, with whom she tour shortly before his death in 2003. “He used to come out during my set to sing ‘I Kissed a Girl’ with me,” Jill remembers. “He would always wink at me when we would sing ‘They can have their diamonds and we’ll have are pearls’ to let me know he got the clitoral reference.”
For all its graceful, funny and heartbreaking explorations of awkward youth and grown-up regrets, Nostalgia Kills is as of-the-moment as anything in Jill Sobule’s catalog. Through her own experiences, she explores issues our society still collectively struggles with (LGBTQ rights, teen mental health, our unhealthy obsession with staying forever young) and gently skewers our tendency to dwell on the past at the expense of addressing the present. As she sings on the title track: “We look at ourselves in a long row of mirrors/We get smaller and smaller with each passing year/We have to keep moving or die.”
(of Elephant Revival)
As a multi-instrumentalist with an obsession for writing and crafting songs, Darren Garvey continues to establish himself as a musical polymath, producer, and idiosyncratic songwriter with heavy-hearted lyrics and clever arrangements. With his band Elephant Revival exploring new paths on their recently announced hiatus, Darren is currently producing bandmate Daniel Rodriguez's debut solo record all the while challenging himself to post a new song every week in his ambitious 2018 Song Share.
Aside from guest appearances, Darren writes, arranges, produces, and performs every instrument on his solo recordings. His most recent release Heart Attack Sleeves (2018) was recorded in a turn-of-the-century victorian mansion in Neenah during the cold Wisconsin winter. Garvey was able to accomplish a very raw and real sound by choosing from minimal studio takes and avoiding a reliance on edits. No stranger to the recording studio, Darren has appeared on 100+ records and has worked on a dozen film scores. In 2010 he took time off the road to reinvent himself as a writer, producer, and music director for a commercial music house in Chicago that included the writing talents of Jimmie Linville (Canyon Spells, Daniel and the Lion) and Theo Katzman (Vulfpeck).
Born in Milwaukee in the late-70s, Darren was raised outside of Chicago where he played piano and guitar from an early age and led a handful of bands. Gravitating towards the drums in the mid-90s, Darren studied with Glenn Kotche (Wilco) whose musicality and percussive approach to the trap set inspired Darren to further his education. While attending The University of Illinois, he formed an experimental jazz/funk/bluegrass project with Noam Pikelny (Punch Brothers) and ultimately earned a degree in percussion and jazz. Darren's two-decades worth of touring have included performances at venues such as the Ryman Auditorium, Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Hearst Greek Theatre, and Germany's Rockpalast.
Considering Darren's latest release Heart Attack Sleeves, Marquee Magazine observes that "out of the ashes of Elephant [Revival], comes the first solo release from any of the members…from the Bon Iver-esque presentation of First of the Year to the soft finger-picking of The Reason, to the dark, industrial synth of Detour Garvey puts forth a diverse and raw collection of highly personal tracks…and finally places his art out in front." Scene Magazine recently wrote that "Garvey is a life-long musician who studied jazz and percussion…he is a producer, a father, and plays a myriad of instruments. He is inspired by his deep-rooted passion for music and the challenges of life. Those experiences shape his songwriting."
Darren Garvey lives with his wife and daughter in the foothills of the Rockies and is a member of Colorado's transcendental folk darlings Elephant Revival. Much of Darren's legacy can be found in the huge fingerprint that he left on the Midwest independent music scene with bands like Cameron McGill & What Army, Andreas Kapsalis Trio, Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts, Daniel and the Lion, Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons, Ernie Hendrickson, Chicago Farmer, and Paper Arrows among others.