Jenny Gillespie on San Francisco, California

Jenny Gillespie has recorded several albums acting as both producer and artist. She blends folk, electronica, jazz, and pop into a constantly regenerating style but one anchored by her smoky, far-ranging voice, and searching, imaginative lyrics.
Her last album Chamma which she recorded entirely in her house in Chicago was named one of the top 25 albums of 2014 by Billboard Magazine. It featured Emmett Kelly (Bonnie Prince Billy) on guitar and Joe Adamik (Califone, Iron and Wine) on drums. Her newest album Cure for Dreaming, which hits the streets January 29 via Narooma Records, was recorded in fall 2015 in Los Angeles, California, engineered by Paul Bryan and arranged by Jenny and Paul. Featuring musicians such as Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann), drummer Jay Bellerose (Robert Plant and Allison Krauss’ Raising Sand), guitarist Chris Bruce (Meshell Ndgeocello), guitarist Gerry Leonard (David Bowie), and pedal steel player Greg Leisz (Lucinda Williams, Bon Iver), the album blends an earnest folk sensibility with experimental flavorings of progressive jazz and sunny sixties and seventies R&B flavored pop.

The songs span a variety of landscapes, from the Venice boardwalk with its “chakra hucksters” in “Pain Travels,” to a woman’s solitary spiritual rebirth on the banks of an East Coast river in “Dhyana by the River.” Themes of motherhood, marriage, spirituality and dying enter into the music but through the medium of playful, imagistic and conversational language. Characters weave in and out of the songs, such as the brooding loner drawn to the masculine expressions of his ancestry of “Part Potawatomi,” or the cheerful artist facing death in “Last Mystery Train.” The music is loose, warm, and memorable, yet pulls off an undercurrent of occasional instrumental and melodic wildness not often found in modern day pop. Jenny now divides her time between San Francisco and Big Sur, California with her husband and son.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Gillespie to talk about her some-time home, San Francisco, California. This is what she had to say about Fog City.
What’s your town’s nickname? 
Fog City.
What’s your nickname for your town? 
Pretty Little Jewel.
Why do you live there? 
My husband asked me to move there two years ago and I said sure, I was ready to get out of winter in Chicago.
What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there? 
Probably going to this dinner our first week living here called “The White Dinner” or the “White Party”…which was like 300 people wearing white, crammed together sitting on picnic tables eating food they had made themselves in front of City Hall. It was weird. Also, hearing coyotes at night for the first time last week.
What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)? 
Japanese Tea Garden.
What is your favorite local event or festival? 
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.
What is the best time of year to be there? 
September into October.
Who is your favorite local celebrity? 
Mark Kozelek.
Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour? 
I don’t really go to bars anymore..I’d rather go out to dinner.
Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)? 
I haven’t played a jukebox since college!
Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play? 
I have not played yet, but will soon! (January 9 at Starline Social Club in Oakland)
Does where you live influence your music? 
I don’t think so. I always am recording in other places other than where I live…and listening to music from all other the world. When I was living in Chicago, I was writing about Big Sur, where I now live part-time but don’t really write about it anymore!
What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there? 
I love Gundlau Bunschu in Sonoma…or Henry Miller Library in Big Sur. Not really local but close enough. The Pixies at Henry Miller.
What is your favorite local band? 
Sun Kil Moon.
What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish? 
Bar Tartine or Boulibar. Their menu always changes, everything is good.
What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there? 
Aquarius–I got a beautiful Catherine Howe record there.
What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly)
(Visit her here: Website / Facebook / Twitter.)