Jenny Lou Drew and the Damage Done have been releasing a genre-elusive debut, song-by-song, for the whole of 2014. At the helm of Historia, Scott Morgan and Jaye Drew, a husband and wife production team, invite players to their farm in Midcoast Maine. They put the polish on numbers Drew calls “stark naked and raving mad”– ranging from industrial and classical to world and folk influences. The couple have invited everyone from local eccentrics who make their own electronic instruments to Portland Symphony Orchestra players up to record on the collection of songs.
One of the tracks off of Historia, “Mirage”, has already been picked up by the music supervisor for a major network prime-time TV show. “Mirage” isn’t the only of Drew’s songs in consideration for television, a solo acoustic track from their prior project waits in the wings as well. While Drew’s highest aspirations are in songwriting and production, she and Morgan will take these songs to the stage until the day comes when she can, “spend my days plucking out tunes and hanging round the studio, riding my horses.”
The album itself is the culmination of years worth of material, some of which didn’t fit the mold of the couple’s prior project. Drew and Morgan met in that project, which disbanded with the release of a self-titled album. Thealbum received limited airplay and international blurbs, noms in the Portland Phoenix, a couple of favorable reviews and a few cult fans but never reached a larger audience. The project provided an education for Drew and Morgan who set out to build Fallow Ground Studio and depart for deeper waters.
Arrangements on Historia span from solo acoustic to tracks that marry heavy crunch and classical guitar to a full band with a string section. An electronic number gets tossed in for good measure. Somewhere in the middle of all of this there is a slide guitar on the straight-up folk-rock tune, “Strangelove”. It is a darkly love-song that Drew wrote for Morgan before the two were wed. She implores,
“I wasn’t searching for a heart of gold. Honey, I was looking for a hole in the ground. And all my life, what I’d been told about love is what I’d found. Late nights sucking up lines just to find them in the morning on my face. Yeah, I was scribbling the story of my life away; figured it’d all just be a waste anyway.”
At other times her lyrics wax philosophical, almost riddle-like, touching on struggles with addiction and disillusionment. On the cello-led Latin-esc number, “Let It Break”, Drew dreams up, “The light makes it harder to see through the fog, while I’m still wearing my armor it’s been torn at the seams; And this madness, it sleeps like a slumbering dog who would tear me apart if unchained from his dreams.” To some, it may all seem a bit confused, but these two aren’t looking to limit themselves to a genre, it’s an artistic endeavor.
Drew is also an assemblage artist and she is currently working on a piece for photograph for the cover of Historia. Recently having added film capabilities to Fallow Ground Studio, the couple are planning their first music video shoot for August. Some artistic appendages are planned for live performances.
Historia is only available to subscribers for the whole of 2014. A private pre-release show will be by invite only this Fall. The full album will be released publicly in early 2015 with shows slated in Portland, Maine, and surrounding areas. A Northeast tour schedule is TBA for the Summer of 2015.