Too-brief praise for Romi Mayes
If I were a freelance writer, I’d be pitching editors profiles of the Canadian songwriter Romi Mayes, because she has a new album out called Achin In Yer Bones. (And have we done away with italics in this interface? Damn the process of writing is disintegrating in the new world. Update: Ah. I went in the wrong door. If they’d quit changing things…)
But I’m not a freelance writer, precisely because this is the kind of story I’d pitch. Editors today — save for Peter and I, who said cheekily that we sought not to hold an artist’s commercial success, nor failure, against them — want celebrity. Hell, even the Atlantic Monthly put Britney Spears on the cover, which more or less corresponded to the moment at which I allowed my subscription to lapse again.
See, first the editor would say: “Who?”
And I’d explain that Ms. Mayes is an abundantly talented Canadian singer and songwriter and guitar flailer whose last two albums have been produced by Gurf Morlix.
The editor would say: “Canadian?”
And then: “Gurf who?”
You know, the guy who played guitar with and produced for Lucinda Williams all those years before Car Wheels finally came out?
Answer: “Nobody knows who Gurf Morlix is.”
Well, they should, and that’s another reason to write about Romi Mayes. And, by the way, would you at least listen to her music?
Romi Mayes might as well be from Texas, because she’s internalized the Austin blues tradition of confessional songwriting. She has a wonderful persona on album which makes open all the private moments of her life, and yet manages to keep distance from them. She has a nicely subtle alto (alto, right?) that roughens up nicely, turns a fine phrase, tells a splendid story (often about herself, allegedly), and Gurf’s guitar (and stuff) goes nicely alongside.
Peter is a big fan of Kathleen Edwards, who has made something of her own persona: tough, vulnerable, confessional, strong, and inescapably female. Hard-drinking, maybe. Romi is much like that, only I’d a whole lot rather see her play because I think it’d be more fun (I’ve seen Edwards, I think, but not Ms. Mayes), without the indie rock flavor, and without the fame. Or neo-fame. Or whatever.
Anyway. My assumption is this site is meant to be about good music. Romi Mayes makes good music. And now I’m going to turn up “Somethin’ Going On” and go back to work. Whatever that is.