Across the Great Divide: Songs of Jo Carol Pierce

Jan. 31, 2008
DOG OF LOVE Expands Unconventional Wisdom & Witty Spirit
of an Austin Favorite; Shows Also Planned for March
AUSTIN, Texas — Writer-performer Jo Carol Pierce, who works in media from stage play to monologue to music and whose country-rock-postmodern folk songs have charmed audiences from Austin to Washington’s Kennedy Center, is set to release the rough and ready DOG OF LOVE on March 4.  In Austin, Pierce and her band will perform at 10 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, at Chain Drive, 504 Willow St., with Gretchen Phillips and the David Halley Band, and twice during the SXSW Music & Media Conference, including at Evangeline Café on March 14.The second album, more than three years in the making, was produced by Mark Andes (with additional production by Burnin’ Mike Vernon) and is packed full of songs about crazy love, wicked heartbreak, vehement feeling and illogical truth (most co-written with David Halley), sung in Pierce’s trademark vocal shimmy: the rock ‘n’ roll-y “Rock in My Shoe,” the snarly “Dog of Love,” the haunting ballad “You’re So True” and the honorific “Barb Wire Crown.”

Joining Pierce (piano, vocals) on the album are Andes on bass, guitar and vocals, Halley on guitar and vocals, Bruce Logan on drums, Blackie White on guitar, piano, synthesized instruments and vocals, and the Blessed Virgin Mary Welch on back-up vocals.

With the fervor demonstrated during her live Austin performance, Pierce lets loose on DOG OF LOVE — just as style avatar Stephen Moser of The Austin Chronicle described one of her shows that really floored him: “They were a few songs into their set — they were doing this song about an “unknown sword,” and Jo Carol was wailin’ away like a tumbleweed angel. But there was something about the words that made me stop bemoaning my discomfort and realize the fantastic visions she was conjuring up with her words. Then the song slid into this instrumental break … and I slid into nirvana.

“The sound rose from the ground like floodwaters around my ankles, and I just went limp, and the music swirled around me and washed my sins away. Jo Carol is Kitty Wells, she is the B-52s, she is Lucinda Williams, she is Patti Smith. But then again, she’s unlike anyone else you’ve ever heard. …”

Pierce’s first album was the 1996 recording of her critically acclaimed narrative musical, BAD GIRLS UPSET BY THE TRUTH, that featured “I Blame God,” the Tex-Mex “Borderline Tango” and “Loose Diamonds,” which includes a former boyfriend’s lament, “You were like broken glass embedded in my flesh.” It was produced by the Alliance Theater in Atlanta and The American Musical Theater Festival in Philadelphia and made many Top 10 year’s-best lists.

She grew up in Lubbock within that extraordinary pod of music talent (the likes of Butch Hancock, Joe Ely, Terry and Jo Harvey Allen, and Jimmie Gilmore) and eventually moved to Austin, where she began to write songs in earnest. She had become a popular figure in Austin clubs when in 1993, two musicians released a tribute album, ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE: SONGS OF JO CAROL PIERCE, that won rave reviews and awards.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: