A Fevers of the Mind Spotlight on: Marissa Nadler (musician, songwriter, singer)

Marissa Nadler has been one of my favorite singer/songwriters since around 2005. As I became more influenced by great songwriters and poets in the early 2000’s when I became a huge Leonard Cohen fan, got into Townes Van Zandt, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Fairport Convention, Tori Amos and then learned more about Tom Watis, Mark Lanegan, Kristin Hersh, Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks and more I found the music of Marissa Nadler. With a hauntingly sweet voice that sung every song into a story and imagine you into the story seeing what she is seeing, expressing what she is expressing, taking cover songs and putting them in her own spinning reality images. Here is a review of some of my favorite songs and video clips of the great Marissa Nadler. Creativity in every endeavor. Music, artwork, videos, performances.

First of all her website is https://www.marissanadler.com/ so much info on her career, albums, shows, merch, press & more. Marissa’s bandcamp page https://marissanadler.bandcamp.com/

Marissa’s new album “The Path of the Clouds” will come out this year on the great “Sacred Bones Records” in October. I cannot wait. https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/products/sbr280-marissa-nadler-the-path-of-the-clouds go to Sacred Bones and pre-order yours. An album loosely based from Marissa writing songs while binging “Unsolved Mysteries” during quarantining.

A song preview from Marissa’s youtube page for “Bessie, Did You Make It?”

The first album of Marissa’s I listened to was “Ballads of Living and Dying” (2004-Eclipse Records)

Ballads of Living and Dying.jpg

A very important record during a lost, sad, deeply in love with someone who was far away and with another. 2004 (when I was 24) was such a rediscovering year, a year filled with finding my writing style, and reading aloud in poetry coffeehouses. Albums like this one helped encourage me to find my writing style. An often melancholy walk in sadness. Glimpses of hope, and ultimately alone and waiting (during this time) I often call songs from this album classics “Fifty Five Falls” “Undertaker” “Bird Song” “Annabelle Lee” are all just part of a great debut LP.

The Saga of Mayflower May (2005-Eclipse Records) is an underrated in my collection of Marissa’s albums I have. I think because I was still so entrenched in the first album by the time this one came out. Over the years I have listened more and more to this album and love it.

Songs III (Bird on the Water) 2007-Peacefrog Records is my favorite album of Marissa’s earlier work and possibly my most listened to.

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“Diamond Heart” “Mexican Summer” “Thinking of You” “Silvia’ “Bird on Your Grave” such a wonderful cover of “Famous Blue Raincoat”

“Little Hells -2009 Kemado Records)

Some sad awesome songs on this one ” Heart Paper Lover” “Mary Come Alive” “Ghosts and Lovers” is just a great album.

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Marissa’s self titled LP in 2011 (Box of Cedar) took a great effort to get released.

Songs that I enjoy quite a bit include “In Your Lair, Bear”, “The Sun Always Reminds Me of You” “Alabaster Queen” “Puppet Master”

“July -2014 Sacred Bones Records”

July

The first album under Sacred Bones brings indie folk & dream pop together wonderfully.

Favorites include “Drive” “Firecrackers” “Dead City Emily” “Was It a Dream”

“Strangers” in 2016 Sacred Bones Records has some songs that I constantly play in my Marissa Nadler folder on my phone. Including “Katie I Know” “Hungry is the Ghost” “Shadow Show Diane” “Strangers”

Strangers

“For My Crimes” 2018 Sacred Bones Records. My favorite album of Marissa’s in the last half of the decade. Such an artistic vision with this.

For My Crimes

“For My Crimes w/Angel Olsen” ” I Can’t Listen to Gene Clark Anymore w/Sharon Van Etten”, “Blue Vapor” “Said Goodbye to the Car” (the perfect song for Letting Past People Go)

“Droneflower” is an album Marissa did with former Cave-In member Stephen Brodsky (2019 Sacred Bones Records) a little heavier album at times.

Marissa also has several compilation albums, covers albums, EPs and more to check out. Some covers to check out and get a taste of what is on these comps and cover albums.

I really enjoy this Happy Rhodes cover. Always cool to see artists recognize Happy Rhodes.

I think I’ve written at least 2 poems based on this song.

with John Cale

https://thecreativeindependent.com/people/musician-marissa-nadler-on-hard-work-staying-healthy-and-creating-in-multiple-mediums/

https://www.songwritersonprocess.com/blog/2018/10/12/marissa-nadler

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Michelle Marie Jacquot (Poet, Actress, singer/songwriter)

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with Michelle Marie Jacquot:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Michelle: I’ve been writing ever since I can remember— I have no memory of a moment when I distinctly started “doing” it. It’s just an instinct, or even a compulsion, I’ve always had. My first influences were all songwriters. I always paid close attention to lyrics. I was a dancer from age 3 to 14, we were always told to get into the emotion of the song, the story. I think that might be how I became so interested in storytelling, and I’m sure in large part why I became a writer. So many songs and artists stick with me from that time. Anything Imogen Heap or Tori Amos, Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega, Red Football by Sinéad O’Connor, Mad World by Gary Jules. Unfortunately I don’t have a very good memory of when I was younger, but one of the most vivid flashbacks I have is from a dance class. Our instructor turned off all the lights, had us lay on the ground in the dark, and told us to close our eyes. She played “Let It Be” by The Beatles. It was the first time I had ever heard that song, and possibly ever The Beatles (consciously, at least). That moment changed my life.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Michelle: I don’t know if influence is the right word, but I’m really into Yoko Ono and John Lennon at the moment. Joan Didion is my favorite writer. As for poets, Charles Bukowski might be that. There have been certain poems from him that I’ve found in the exact moments when I’ve needed them. Jim Morrison, Patti Smith, Mary Oliver. All of the Beats. I would say the way people live their lives inspires and influences me more than their work, at times.

Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?

Michelle: I grew up in Southern California— Temecula, but I spent a lot of time all over. I was always going to concerts and running away to LA, San Diego, Orange County. Where and how I grew up influenced my work more than I ever realized it did until recently. There’s a very California way of living or thinking that I didn’t know I had— kind of like how your house has a certain smell, but only other people can smell it. You don’t even know it exists until you leave and come back. I found out that way of living existed when I discovered Joan Didion. Every lived experience or thought she had, I took in as my own. As if we shared the same childhood, down to the street signs. Somehow she knew it was specific all along, but I didn’t until her work told me it was. Something about growing up in a desert cultivates a toughness, but equally, a need for freedom. I actually went back a few weeks ago, I was walking outside for about 30 seconds, it was 100 degrees. I thought to myself, “no wonder I am the way I am, having to learn to grow up in the middle of this and survive it, and no wonder I had to get out as soon as I could.” I drove three hours to get there, I left almost immediately.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Michelle: Travels have been the most influential force on my work by a long shot, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from anything I’ve released yet. None of it has outwardly been about travel, I suppose that’s been my little secret until now. That’s actually what many of my future skeletons of books are all based around. I have lots of upcoming travels and I’m excited to see where they’ll take the work and where everything will land. I think it’s better not to plan, to leave room for life to happen, to be surprised. You’ll suffocate the ideas and kill them before they even get off the ground if you don’t. Ideas come to you, you don’t chase them down and tell them what to be, they tell you— the good ones, at least. They say you have to live in order to write, I think that’s true. Half of my writing experience means not writing at all, filling the well, followed by obsessively doing only that. I do write most and am constantly inspired when I’m traveling though, to the point where it’s almost annoying. It’s like I can’t sit down and enjoy one meal without having to pull out a pen. I’ve actually found myself recently making an effort to write less, not treating every thought as life or death to get down. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. You might lose some really important ideas that way, and come to terms with never getting them back. But at what point does that obsession to note everything become worth not being able to enjoy your dinner? I don’t know. I suppose it’s about choosing which one is more worth it at whatever point in your life you’re at in that moment. But anyway— travel. When I was 20, after half-quitting music school, I didn’t go to a proper college, I went to London instead, and Europe. I quit my job and just left. That trip and everything that followed was what made me rearrange my life and start taking writing seriously (but wasn’t aware of it at the time).

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/artist?

Michelle: No. I think being an artist is just a way of being, not a title someone can give you. You either are or you aren’t, it’s not a job description. I didn’t even know I was a poet by the time I put my first poetry book out. I probably never even said the word out loud until the following year. It was all an accident, something I never even thought of or gave names to.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Michelle: I laughed out loud at the word “relax.” I enjoy lots of things, I don’t know if I can ever relax. I really love stand-up comedy, maybe that’s because it forces you to relax. You can’t laugh and be (too) stressed out at the same time. I wrote a few scripts last year in lockdown, that was fun, but also doesn’t fall into the category of “not writing.” I really can’t seem to stop, in whatever form it takes. I love film, reading. Reading is another thing that forces your own inner monologue to shut off, you don’t have a choice but to listen to someone else’s for a while— next to comedy, it might be the only break I get from that, and I don’t take it for granted. I just realized none of these are considered activities, and I’ve described them all as “forced.” Like I said, I’m a really relaxed person. I’ve been living in the mountains for the last six months, and that’s been a beautiful break. I’ve always enjoyed going on long walks, I make sure to do that every day and have for years now. Let’s pretend walking and sitting on the porch are activities. I actually relax most when I’m doing absolutely nothing. I’m anti-activities.

Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Michelle:

I just released my second poetry book, a chapbook called DETERIORATE. It’s all about my disdain for the digital age— contemplating how our modern world has changed humanity, changed how we produce art, how we live. Mostly for worse, but my hope is that we might be able to change that if we’d all just look up and turn off (or on, rather). It’s available wherever you get books. 

https://www.michellemariejacquot.com/poetry

https://amzn.to/3iuX1PL

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Michelle: I can’t pick a favorite. I’m one of those weird people that really likes their own work and listens to/reads it. I have a whole album of songs I haven’t recorded yet— I’m really proud of all those lyrics. I worked for so long to become the songwriter I wanted to be, and I finally started to get there right before the world shut down. I’ve yet to start again, we’ll see what happens with that.

The first good song I wrote (after six or seven years of trying) has a chorus that ends with this lyric— “I spend all my time stuck in a car in the past, you’ll forget about me and I’ll drive me mad.”

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Michelle: Honestly, it’s been a very solitary journey for me. I was about to say I wish I could say otherwise, but I suppose I don’t. I enjoy being and working alone. I’ve always helped myself in writing, if anything I’ve looked to other artists that came before me and found their help along the way through their work and lives, and through other moments of inspiration from the greater world. Paying close attention has helped me most.

Also from Michelle:

Death of a Good Girl

An Interview with Indie Musician Austin Lucas (2020) Fevers of the Mind Press Presents

Austin Lucas has a new album “Alive in the Hot Zone” which many have in their year-end best of 2020 award nominees.

 (Cornelius Chapel Records)

First off Thanks Austin for granting an interview with us at Fevers of the Mind Press for the Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest: The Poets of 2020.

Austin: Thanks so much for including me

Q: It has been over a year since the last issue.  It is weird, it seems like something might have happened to try to jog away from the creativity into a slow depression month after month as this has continued.   The year 2020 has been some work, and it has taken nearly a year for me to fully get my creative fuses (mostly out of the anger of this year) to feel like there has to be another edition!  There are many voices out there that have been writing through the year, and their voices all need to be heard. 

With that, how have you kept your creativity with writing songs & putting out a new album? Was it any different going into the studio and recording the new album in the wake of the pandemic.

Austin:  I have found myself baffled by the disconnect from reality among my fellow americans, along with their seemingly limitless capacity to entirely abandon reason.  As for inspiration and the process of staying active in song writing, it seems that I was able to have even more time to exercise my capacity for creation with so much time off the road.

Q: I was a huge fan of Immortal Americans & Shallow Inland Sea after hearing your appearances on the comedy podcast Improv4Humans with Matt Besser.  Even my 8-year-old daughter became a fan of “Immortal Americans” and I love that song and Shallow Inland Sea) How is Matt Besser and the Improv4Humans experience?

Austin: I love Matt and all the I4H crew so it’s always so cool when I get to collaborate with them and also when I hear that someone discovered me through that medium.

Q: I’ve been listening to the new single “Drive” on repeat listens, and watching the interesting Pandemic feel of the video on Youtube.   Where was it filmed?

Austin: Well it was shot in Berlin during the pandemic, so what you were seeing is life as it is currently lived. That video was a phenomenal experience because I was able to cast a bunch of my favorite people who I honestly don’t get to see often enough.

Q: How are you maintaining focus and coming up with new creative endeavors without the touring and the availability of concerts?  Tell us a little about the Save the Stage movement also.

Austin: As I mentioned before, I seem to have almost boundless creative energy when so much of my time isn’t spent traveling and feeling worn down by life on the road. Sometimes I get incredibly tired still, due to my intense training and coaching schedule with Muay Thai but even that doesn’t distract me and leave me feeling so depleted as constant travel.

Q: When I heard your interviews regarding your songs in the past, I was excited to learn that you grew up in the Bloomington, Indiana area.  I grew up in Western Kentucky and lived in Evansville for nearly 20 years.  I’ve spent many nights visiting Bloomington.  Always good shows up there.  What was it like growing up in the Midwest?  What about the Midwest do you love, and what part of it makes you shake your head?

Austin: I don’t know, there are so many things I both love and hate about the Midwest but honestly, I don’t find much more wrong with the Midwest than I do with any other part of the USA. There’s good and bad and the bad things are found in literally every corner of the United States. I do love how direct people are in the Midwest vs. other parts of the US though. We’re polite but we won’t bend over backwards and bullshit you if we think you suck.

Q: I know you have many roots in punk music and for most of your career, you have spun punk ideologies into an Americana/rock-folk carving.  So, who were your heroes musically, and inevitably with writing song lyrics that maybe have helped you weave the two musical styles into your niche?

Austin: His Hero Is Gone, Discharge, X, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Beatles. Jason Molina is probably my greatest lyrical influence but there’s a lot in my repertoire that’s derived from my upbringing in the Bluegrass and folk lineage.

Q: What is your process when you write a song?  How long does it usually take to come up with a full song to your liking, music and all?

Austin: It really depends, I’m a notoriously furious and extensive self editor so it can take anywhere from hours to years for me to write a song. I generally begin with a riff and build words and melody around the first riff that I write and go for there.

Q: I’d like to congratulate you on your nomination in the category for  Americana Song of the Year in the upcoming AMA-UK Awards in 2021.   How do you handle the recognition that you deserve for your work? 

Austin: Thanks so much, I honestly just smile and feel grateful. I’ve been in this songwriting game for a very long time and have yet to receive many accolades. Which means that while I appreciate it all the more as a result, I also have a hard time imagining that it will be a regular occurrence. At the moment I’m just gonna soak it up and be grateful that some folks cared enough to nominate me for an award in the first place.

Q: You’ve worked with many great artists on albums such as Lydia Loveless & John Moreland.  Is there a musician out there that you would love to work with, or came close to working with that once (hopefully) someday when COVID is gone that you’d feel like this could be the ultimate collaboration?

Austin: I’d honestly love to work with several artists but the dream for me would be to just sing duets with Dolly and Emmylou or Gillian Welch. My other biggest dreams are to make albums with Baroness and Neurosis and also to make an album with Blitzen Trapper would be an absolute dream.

Q: Out of the many, many songs you’ve written.  Which do you feel the most complete lyrically let’s say, or just satisfied with the outcome.  Do you ever feel like hey, where did these words come to me from?  I think lyrically Monroe City Nights resonates with me so well.  I can feel the sadness of the Midwest & the vulnerability to adapt and so everything just seems stagnant (in the solitude of okay, I guess this is how my life has to be?)

Austin: To my mind, that song is absolutely one of my crowing masterpieces in a lot of ways. I’m honestly very proud of my body of work overall but my last 2 albums have probably had the most of what I’d consider “me” in them.

Q: Tell me about the new album “Alive in the Hot Zone” released this Fall.  What about this album is getting the buzz of Austin Lucas out there in the Americana & Indie scene.  What about this album, do you feel is different from your other albums? 

Austin: I honestly don’t know, I guess it’s the fact that I managed to write about what everyone was going through in the world right now and actually release it while we were still experiencing it as a global community

Q: Finally, the dumb question.  Let’s say some bozo with some weapon comes up to you.  Let’s say He’s like I’ve got 2 albums that you have to re-make, and you have to choose one to cover completely (no matter what it does for your career) and hey maybe you can change the dynamic of people’s minds about the albums, Do you cover Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True” album or Debbie Gibson’s “Lost in Your Eyes”?

Austin: I’d personally rather cover Go Go’s “Beauty and the Beat but I think I’d go with the Debbie Gibson album, if those were my only two options.

Q: No really, we’ve seen like full album covers by artists like Beck, the Bird, and the Bee, and ummm…yeah Ryan Adams do such, if you ever went that route with an album what would you consider an awesome honorable album to cover?

Austin: Oh, haha, I guess I already answered that question but let me say two things. 1. Ryan Adams is a creep and 2. I’d also really love to cover the entirety of the Cure “Pornography” or “Darklands” by Jesus and Mary Chain

Q: Thank you, Austin for spending a little bit of your time with Fevers of the Mind, and much success on the new album & good luck with the award nomination.

Austin: Thank you so much for sitting down and asking me these questions.

Bio Courtesy of Austin Lucas.com

Austin Lucas is a punk journeyman, activist and songwriter from Bloomington, Indiana. Consumed by an overdeveloped sense of wanderlust as a young person, Austin spent his formative years in the driver’s seat of various beat-up Ford Econolines. Burning through countless miles and living the world over, he’s made his home everywhere from the American West Coast to the Czech Republic.

As a young person, Austin worshipped a diverse mixture of Classic Rock, Country, Punk, Psychedelic Folk and Mountain Music, and has made a career by successfully fusing these disparate influences into something uniquely his own. Emerging as a prominent and revered talent among his fans and peers, Austin has stood shoulder to shoulder with some of the most recognizable icons of Folk, Punk, Indie, Country and Americana, all the while uplifting the traditions of Roots Music and holding true to the attitude and ethics of political DIY Punk and Indie music as the lifeblood that runs through his veins.

Releasing albums since 2006, Austin Lucas has been a fixture in the worlds of Alternative Country and Folk Punk for nearly two decades, having sang alongside and toured with everyone from Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, Ray Price, Brent Cobb, Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan, Dawes, Langhorne Slim, Joe Pug, John Moreland, Lucero and many others. To hear Austin Lucas or see him live is to discover the type of well-kept secret that can only stay that way for so long.

During the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown Austin Lucas has sheltered in place in Mainz, Germany. Although growing homesick far away from his home and family in Indiana, he has successfully used this extra time and inspired energy to prove that it’s impossible to keep a good troubadour down, writing and recording songs for his forthcoming album, “Alive In The Hot Zone!”.