1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Jesca Hoop

Jesca Hoop

Brooke Annibale

Sun, March 5, 2017

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA


This event is 21 and over

Jesca Hoop
Jesca Hoop
Clear the way, I’m coming through, no matter what you say. I’ve got work to be doing, if you’re not here to help, go find some other life to ruin.

Jesca Hoop’s new album Memories Are Now, out February 10 on Sub Pop Records, wastes no time in making clear its confidence, confrontation, and craftsmanship. The stark and reverberant title track opens the set with “a fighting spirit,” says Hoop, serving as an anthem to push through any obstacle and put forth your very best work. And she has unequivocally done that here, with an album of stunningly original songs–minimalist yet brimming with energy, emerging from a wealth of life experience, great emotional depth, and years of honing the craft of singing.

As riveting as it is reflective, the album, produced by the gifted Blake Mills (Fiona Apple, Alabama Shakes), is a fresh debut of sorts for Hoop, as the first of her solo records made outside of Tony Berg’s Zeitgeist Studios where she and Mills were mentored and came into their own. “I saw us like young chicks out of the nest,” she says. “Blake is so utterly musical and emotionally intelligent in his expression. I wanted to see what we could do, just he and I out from under Tony’s wing.” Mills pushed her to strip away layers, keeping it as close to the live experience as possible, using whole live takes and working very quickly. “It’s still covered in embryonic fluid, for lack of a better way to put it,” says Hoop. “The recordings are quite raw, human and sparse, even unsettling. What I like to call quick fire recording forces you to work in an incredibly focused and instinctive type of way, no second guessing.

However fast the work, Memories Are Now covers a great deal of ground, showcasing every edge and curve of Hoop’s captivating voice, with sounds and themes ranging from the mythic to the deeply intimate.
“Songs of Old” and “The Coming,” songs she sees as “twins” on the album, confront the religion that weighs heavily on her past and the world.

“’Songs of Old’ imagines a girl who learns that the ornate, majestic splendor of her temple came at the cost of beautiful and scared cultures from across the sea, the demolishing of their gods, rituals and myths, and the total oppression of those people,” says Hoop. “Religion is one of those things that wells up, and takes over, and shows itself in dangerous ways when it’s out of balance. Show me a time when it wasn’t out of balance.”

Moving from the dark side of religion to the imagination of myth, “Pegasi” explores “the idea of carrying something to the point of breaking,” says Hoop, drawing on the story of Pegasus and its accomplished rider who takes it for granted. “I fear you’ll see the day that I’ve endured all I can take,” she sings to a gliding, wistful melody. “I won’t bend, but I will break under the weight.”

And from relatable allegory to intensely personal meditation, “The Lost Sky” is a dynamic, anxious song that “gives you a voice when you don’t have a say,” says Hoop. “I have a dear friend who was in a horrific accident that left him in a coma for two weeks. We thought we had lost him. He woke up to find himself silently divorced. This was a heartbreak for all related, and I wrote this while we were waiting for him to wake up. His experience drove me to explore my own relationship with abandonment. I think the cruel nature of life and love is something we all can relate to one way or the next. When you don’t have any say in how a relationship plays out, when you’re cut off, there’s a relentless loop that plays again and again in your own mind of those words that you would say… if love was fair enough to let you speak it. This song gives you that chance.”

The defiance that permeates Memories Are Now is both a product and necessity of a career that has been independently driven and self-funded from the beginning. “All of my successes have been won by the bootstraps, on the grassroots level, with handshakes and hugs from great people who believe in me,” says Hoop, more than a decade into her career and with new paths to forge. As she sings in the title track, “I’ve lived enough life, I’ve earned my stripes. That’s my knife in the ground, this is mine.”

–Evie Nagy
Brooke Annibale
Indie singer/songwriter, Brooke Annibale’s evocative musicianship, nurtured by her family’s music store, is driven by an enduring passion for songwriting. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Brooke’s maternal grandfather opened a music retail and live-sound business in the 1960’s, that is still family-run today. Also an accomplished player, he encouraged Annibale to take an interest in the guitar. Music was ever-present in her life because of the store, where she started taking lessons at age 14. “I felt a natural inclination to play guitar because it was always in my family,” Annibale says. “My dad was a live sound engineer for the family business and that’s how he met my mom. Neither of my parents are musicians, but the love and respect for music in my family runs really deep.”

As a guitar player, Annibale stands out with her deep groove and interesting stylistic choices reminiscent of an early Josh Rouse and inspiration by John Mayer. Guitar aside, it’s her magnetic voice, that smoldering and irresistible delivery, that draws you in, making you think of names like Lisa Hannigan, Norah Jones and Sarah McLachlan. Over the course of developing her dynamic sound, Annibale finds influence from musicians like Kathleen Edwards, The Swell Season and Brandi Carlile, who push boundaries and redefine what it means to be a singer/songwriter in modern times, while remaining timeless.

When it comes to songwriting, Annibale started young, writing as a 3rd grader, but really began taking music seriously as a teenager. This led to her picking up the guitar to compliment her writing. Inspired by deep, meaningful lyricists like Elliott Smith, of the songwriting craft, she states; “I don’t think there’s really any better way to express myself or relate to other people than through music. It’s just really powerful.” Annibale took that passion for songwriting and performing to Nashville, where she earned her degree in Music Business at Belmont University. Not wanting to be boxed in by a traditional music program, she was drawn to a more business oriented major that aligned with her entrepreneurial spirit.

Brooke spent about six years living and making music in Nashville, in the winter of 2014, she officially moved back to Pittsburgh. Both cities had a lot to offer and have equally inspired Annibale’s music. Nashville’s musical amenities are incomparable to most cities, but Pittsburgh provides a sort of life balance that Music City could not. However, she has taken advantage of the resources in Nashville by way of recording two full albums and an EP at The Smoakstack along with producer Paul Moak (Silence Worth Breaking in 2011) and Engineer/Producer Justin March (Words In Your Eyes EP in 2013, The Simple Fear in 2015).

It’s ironic how Brooke Annibale’s fearlessness and eloquence exudes on an album titled The Simple Fear. Annibale had experienced a bout of writer’s block after releasing her 2013 Words In Your Eyes EP. After months of not being able to complete a single song, she wrote and demoed “Remind Me” all in the same day. The rest of the songs came like a flood during major life changes; including a move from Nashville back to her hometown of Pittsburgh. While writing the rest of the album, Annibale was contemplating basic life expectations as well as the fear that those expectations might not be met. “I had to deal with the fear of the unknown future and the struggle of letting go of the past. Those two conflicting feelings are woven throughout these songs: letting go and moving forward,” says Annibale. “Fear is always complicated, but it’s simple in the sense that we all have certain fears in common at some point in our lives.”

Recorded over the course of 2014 and 2015 at the Smoakstack Studios in Nashville, The Simple Fear, picks up where the likes of Kathleen Edwards and The Swell Season’s last records left off. Producer Justin March boldly showcases Annibale’s songs in a relevant, subtly experimental, and yet timeless offering. It progresses what it means to be labeled a “singer-songwriter” or to have the word “folk” attached to a descriptor. This album’s centerpiece lays in Annibale’s subtle groove along with meaningful lyrics delivered in smoldering vocals, encased in layers of beautiful strings, guitar, piano and percussion. The persistence and musical affinity between March and Annibale resonates strongly even on first listen to The Simple Fear.
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147