July 15, 2010

i read the last chapter, and we win.

there are lots of really special people in this great, big world. Jeanette Brabston happens to be one of the most special. i consider it a rich blessing to know someone as talented as she, and we {you and i} are lucky to have a few words written to us by such an angel. and goodness, isn't she lovely?

Q: so, jean, how did it begin for you- the music that is?
I don’t really remember…I have to rely on my mother’s description of that fateful day as a 10 year old. Apparently I came home from school one afternoon and randomly told her I wanted to play the violin. My parents (being the amazing, supportive parents they are) asked no further questions, bought me a violin, and set me up with lessons. I played mostly classical music for about 7 years and then branched out to celtic, jazz, and bluegrass. My older brother got me into U2 when I was about 13, and then I started listening to Led Zeppelin, Oasis, and the Allman Brothers. I’d turn on my tape player and play along. That’s what got me more into improvising and composing. 

Q:tell me about the face you make when you play {you know the one}?

I have no idea what face I make. I’ve had people tell me about it, but I don’t do it consciously. It must be some subliminal reaction. Sometimes I’ll unintentionally drool or forget to breathe. After a song I’ll have to wipe my mouth and catch my breath. Wow I’m a weirdo.

Q:from matthew to the triceratops... you've played with many people... who all do you play with? does that mean you're a member of like a bajillon bands? 
Great Book of John—recording with Jeffrey Cain and Darryl Thorp has been one of my favorite recording experiences. It was such a privilege to work with them…they are top notch. They pretty much let me loose and were so encouraging in letting me try anything I wanted.
Matthew Mayfield—recording with Paul Moak in Nashville at Smoakstack…such a vibey little studio with candles and an eclectic mix of instruments and Catholic paraphernalia. I love playing live shows with MM. He also just happens to be one of my best friends…the most loyal you could ask for.
Stewart Vann/Triceratops— I was a member of Triceratops, which was a large collaborative family. Recording with Lynn Bridges was especially interesting. Such fond memories…there were 9 members at the time…
Monarchs— Celeste and I are a dynamic duo when it comes to writing parts…love that girl and the way she dances. We recorded at an artist commune with a 4 track tape recorder and Taylor Hollingsworth at the helm. Why would you record in a studio when you can record in an old abandoned women’s community shower? (aka Sexy Elephant Studio) Heyo! 
Others I’ve briefly played with in the past: Wild Sweet Orange, Duquette Johnston, David Ramirez, Chris Wininegar…am I leaving anyone out?
Will Hightower—there’s nothing sweeter than playing music with the person you’re in love with.

Q:tell us what you do in your other life?
I am finishing up a 4-year term with Commissioner Jim Carns. Jefferson County, Alabama, is one of the most dysfunctional local governments in the nation. Enough said.
Q: what inspires you most?
Troublemakers: the most influential avant-garde music always seems to be born during a political/societal rebellion or counter-culture movement (i.e. punk movement in the 1970s)
Anything and everything about foreign cultures: what different people groups eat, how they dress, traditions, relational interaction, their music…all very inspirational and fascinating to me. Even just the sound of a foreign language can be so musical. I live to travel and experience the highly addictive act of total cultural submersion.
Inspirational people/music:
Stewart Vann—the most creative singer/songwriter/musician/best friend I’ve ever known—unpretentious, unpredictable, prophetic, prolific. I’ve never met anyone like him. He literally feels his music.
Sigur Ros’s string quartet, Amina, has always struck me as powerful and innovative.
Owen Pallett, who wrote all the string arrangements for Arcade Fire, has influenced my playing especially with his unorthodox countermelodies on Funeral.
Jonny Greenwood is my musical hero…many do not realize he is a classically trained violist. The buildup he creates through melodic tension with the strings on many of Radiohead’s albums is so tasteful.
This may seem random, but the strings on Late Registration by Kanye West are incredible. Jon Brion (who also wrote the soundtrack for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Punch Drunk Love, and I Heart Huckabees) co-produced and wrote all the string arrangements for Kanye. He’s brilliant and virtuously experimental. People that can bridge the gap between hip-hop and classical music are downright sexy.
When I’m in a music funk and need to be inspired, I revert to (preferably on a record player) Otis Redding, Leonard Cohen, Brazilian artists of the Tropicalia movement, The Fugees, Jeff Buckley, always U2, my soul sister, Nina Simone…mmmm, girl…sing it.
Most inspirational time: the minutes right before I fall asleep, when an idea strikes me, and I have to leap out of bed and jot it on a post-it note so I won’t forget in the morning. Those are always my best ideas.

By the way, in the midst of this interview my dear friend Jean was in a very bad car accident. She is fine, but broke her finger pretty badly thus impairing her playing, etc. If you pray, please pray for healing. Oh, and thanks Jeanette for doing this for me despite the craziness of life right now. Love you, sister. 

 when there is love (of passion), there is art. 

1 comment:

  1. Love you J!! I am trusting the Lord for complete healing of your body and your spirit. Keep your head up and your eyes on Jesus. You are a beautiful, talented, amazing daughter of the King and an incredible friend. We are all blessed to know you :) love Megsies