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Mary-Elaine Jenkins

Folk songstress Mary-Elaine Jenkins releases two singles from upcoming debut LP

The first time I heard Mary-Elaine Jenkins was at a Janis Joplin tribute show at The Way Station in Brooklyn. It was a small venue, an intimate atmosphere, and she had come alone with her guitar. When she took the stage, I felt like I knew her somehow, like she had always been a friend. A New Yorker for over five years now, Mary-Elaine is a 13th-generation South Carolinian, so it makes sense that her modest southern charm would so easily make the audience immediately comfortable with her. And then she started singing. 

Jenkins' voice is a mix of cloves, sage, ash, thorns, and honey. The music sets the mood of a sunrise on a brisk fall morning, wrapping a blanket around yourself in your pajamas and eating biscuits on a wooden rocking chair on a white front porch, only rolling hills in view for miles. Reminiscent of Jolie Holland, Lady Lamb, and yes, a piece of Janis Joplin, her lyrics and vocal style seem timeless and raw. 

Jenkins' music is the opposite of frenetic. She knows how to sink into a slow blues groove and lives there like it's the new pace of your life now, an especially powerful feat in our bustling metropolis. And yet it feels easy to sink down with her into a hammock you never want to climb out of. 

Recording at Good Child Music Studios, Jenkins collaborated with producer / engineer Thom Beemer, along with musicians Cat Popper (Ryan Adams), Lawson White (My Brightest Diamond, Tony Trischka), JJ Appleton, and Dave Hassell, to make an album as well traveled as it is rooted in the musical traditions of the Southern east coast.

Singles Fools Don’t Stay and The Rooster release today on Good Child Music and we are proud to premiere them below. They will be included in a debut LP scheduled for later in the year. You can catch Mary-Elaine Jenkins with band live at The Bitter End on Friday, June 22. - Meghan Rose, photo by Paul Storey.


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