Wonky Tonk aka Jasmine Poole recently announced that she is playing a farewell show much to her local fans dismay. Keep your heads up though, she is spreading her wings in order to fly.
What prompted your decision to not play out in your hometown as often?
Gosh, Everyone that knows me knows that I am a rolling stone and feel most at home on the road; I stop moving, I stop dreaming and I am very vocal about this. I feel like most people hear it as I don't like the city and get offended..."if you don't like here then move," they say.
Truth is I know myself and as long as I am moving life works, as soon as I stop - if I moved somewhere and stayed for too long, it would indeed again, be disenchanting.
I think there is something very magical about the road aside from all of the obvious; there is some kind of magic that happens in the unknown that unleashes the inner-child in a person. When things are new, they create new thoughts and open new brain pathways. When things become comfortable and stagnant... well, the magic is lost.
I love little things like jumping in puddles and singing out of key, putting on the wrong shade of lipstick or watching bad movies and eating ice cream from the tub... youth. I think the road is Neverland...a place that holds all the answers but comes packed with qualifying new challenges which means "eyes as big as stars" and insatiable growth.
I could rant longer and I am sure I have ranted too much already but the short and skinny of it all is that Wonk needs to move, Wonk needs to stretch. Because while this city is teaming with beauty and inspiration and talent, the road ahead offers a myriad of versions. I want to hear Kansas City's take on Townes Van Zandt... Baltimore's thoughts on Cincy's National, Portland's dreams on the folk revolution.
Basically to quote the great mister Waits: "I never saw my hometown, until I stayed away too long."
Sometimes, you have to leave in order to come back with eyes refreshed. I want to play elsewhere so I can return to Cincy as an enamored stranger and feel all of its glory with new souls.
What's been your biggest moment so far? The time when you felt like this is why I do this?
I can not qualify any moment as the "biggest." I reckon, the most influential was the moment, following half a decade, the FIRST album was FINISHED! Oh My gosh, so many trials, and there it was - with the help of the entire community - finally, finished.
But the time(s) when I feel like: "this is why I do this" comes in a basement in nowhereville Illinois and I am playing Against Me! tunes with strangers at a house party, or when I wake up to a message from someone from Boston writing to tell me they VOLUNTARILY listen to Stuff We Leave Behind and are THANKING me for making music that helps them get through their day. HOLY MOLEY, music is art and the reason I started playing was because I don't know how to not. ha. Music has always brought people together and unleashed the Neverland in every moment; someone hits that chilling note, mosh pits, tears, a guitar solo that makes you want to scream, a lyric that makes you reflect on that "messy breakup" in a fond and beautiful way.
Every time I get to share, really share music with someone be it performing or swapping tunes, THAT is when I feel like "this is why I do this."
What's one thing our audience can do to engage in and help build up the Cincinnati Music Scene?
Recognize that the Cincy music scene is BODACIOUS and stop taking it for granted. Cincy as a city offers extremely quality music for FREE in numerous arenas which is kick ass. But unfortunately that sometimes allows us as spectators to pass it off as a mere service.
Music, ART, is HARD. Gosh if there is anything I learned we pour ourselves into everything we do; writing songs is HARD, gear is EXPENSIVE, maintaining a band is that most dynamic relationship you'll ever have, promo, confidence, rumors, grace, grit, tears, late nights, real jobs - I could go on until 2017 but I will spare you.
Please just support the arts and know that music is hard. This goes for the musicians as well. I hate to say it but I have come to find that even within the music community of outcasts, people STILL don't fit in (like me! haha).
We need to support each other because we are all fighting the fight. If one of us makes it, the whole community is enriched. Go to each others' shows, give each other the benefit of a doubt, make music - while it is personal, it does not have to be personal - you know what I mean? "Sometimes she just has to sing for the sake of the song, and who do I think that I am to decide that she's wrong?'
It's about the MUSIC, not the ego. Support does not come and go with success; it is always there. Saddlecreek Records, Fort Worth, TX, Saint Louis, New Orleans... communities that support each others' art with pride.
What do you want people to take away with them when they think of you?
You know, I want them to know that I believe in this place but I must to leave because there is so much more than myself, than Wonky Tonk, than Ohio, than the Midwest.
Life is short and I need to use it, and I am blessed to have music as the vehicle. Love and support one another, cross bridges but don't burn them, and keep making kick ass music.
Don't think that I am against you just because I am leaving, the world is a gradient as much as we try to make it black and white.
"I swear I can be better
I could be more to you
But there are things that line my path
That I just had to do” – First Aid Kit