Jeordie & the Mixology Project
There has hardly been a moment in her life when Jeordie wasn't making music. At the age of 4, she and her sister Leilah had a hit record in Canada with the novelty song, "Grandma, We Love You." She spent her adolescent and teen years touring as a backup and harmony singer with her mother, the singer-songwriter Melanie, while simultaneously recording and touring with her band, Safka, which consisted of her, her sister Leilah, (now a Nashville songwriter) and their brother, guitarist Beau Jarred. The grandmother she sang about was the jazz singer from the '40s, Polly Safka, and her father was record producer Peter Schekeryk.
Nor a choice. If a person was ever born a musician, Jeordie was it.
She has accepted her destiny. Currently based in the Arizona area, she records and plays out regularly, while still occasionally going out on tour with her mother.
Her new album, Jeordie & the Mixology Project, her first in five years, is a culmination of everything she's been working for to date. The playing is fine; her band, the Mixology Project, supports her songs beautifully, laying down guitar licks, propelling the song forward with percussion and bringing in violins and saxes when these instruments are appropriate to the songs. The band hovers behind Jeordie's percussive rhythm guitar, giving her songs the foundation they need. Jeordie's songwriting has matured over the years; she is writing more deeply and powerfully than ever, coming up with tunes and lyrics that reward repeated listenings. She's developed a tasty way with a metaphor.
And then there's her voice. She can belt out a blues ballad and she can caress a lyric, can hit one out of the park and can beat out a bunt. All her years as her mother's backup singer have taught her how lay down harmony, so when she sings a second part on a song, it is thought out and arranged to enhance the mood and texture of the song. She has some of her mother's phrasing, which is a very good thing.
One technique Jeordie is especially fond of is repetition. "Communication" repeats a lyric for effect but is careful to use the repetition for thematic purposes. It's a fine piece of writing. On "Want" the B part is "I want what I want when I want it" repeated three times, leading into a solo made up of the melody the lyrics use. Again, good writing and arranging.
In part, this album stands as a tribute to the Safka women. She includes a cover of her mother's song, "What Have They Done to My Song, Ma," and offers, as a bonus cut, her grandmother's version of "Got My Mojo Working." On this CD, then, the torch is passed from generation to generation to generation. Jeordie & the Mixology Project is the statement of a singer who both remembers where she came from and knows exactly where she is going.
music review by
Michael Scott Cain
5 May 2012
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