Los Angeles singer-songwriter Jenny O., who has toured with Leon Russell and Ben Harper and recently joined Paul McCartney, Lou Reed, The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket, and Fiona Apple in contributing a song to Rave On, a Buddy Holly tribute album, has personally asked the Fort Worth swamp-blues quartet Quaker City Night Hawks to back her on her string of upcoming SXSW dates, including a sanctioned showcase.
“South-by-Southwest tends to be this hectic, artificial, weird thing,” Jenny O. said. “I always try my best to make it fun and creative and maintain my personal values through collaboration and creativity and good vibrations. … I thought [playing with Quaker City] would be a fun approach. I think their sound meshes well with mine. It’s pretty straightforward rock ’n’ roll, and that’s where I’m at.”
Jenny O. got turned onto Quaker City about a year ago via Jordan Richardson, Ben Harper’s drummer and a member of and co-chief-songwriter for EPIC RUINS, the Fort Worth stoner-pysche rock band to which Quaker City frontman Sam Anderson provides lead vocals and rhythm guitar.
Jenny O., who’s played Texas only once before, at a previous South-by, is planning on doing a Fort Worth show with Quaker City at some point before decamping for Austin and SXSW 2012. (Burning Hotels, Calhoun, Complete, Fungi Girls, Mind Spiders, and Hudson Moore are the only Fort Worth bands playing sanctioned showcases.)
Anderson got the call from Jenny O. about two weeks ago. “I was floored,” he said. “I was super-excited.”
Anderson believes the South-by collaboration will be “exciting,” he said. “It’s kind of a big ol’ experiment. It’s going to go great, but that’s what’s kind of interesting about it. … It’s definitely going to sound like us playing her songs. I don’t think we’re going to try to mask ourselves or hide the way we play, but we’re going to try to play the songs the way she wrote them.”
Anderson and Jenny O. spoke about collaborating last year, but life got in the way.
Jenny O. is sending some of her material to Quaker City for the band to learn. Their rehearsal space is going to be Blue Smoke Studios. “I’m anxious for her to see Fort Worth,” Anderson said. “I’m gonna take her to eat Mexican food.”