“A few years ago, I decided that learning to fix cars was the answer to many things. This is song is about the pursuit,” says singer-songwriter Jenny O. On “Automechanic,” she fondly recalls the days when rockabilly ruled the airwaves and an afternoon spent tinkering in the garage, coating your hands with engine grease and breathing exhaust fumes was time well spent. Jenny recorded at Jonathan Wilson’s studio, where with help from drummer James Gadson, they “did two or three takes, added more stuff like guitar and background vocals,”and then brought in “genuine automobile engines and power tools” to make the lyrics feel more authentic. We had to run some cable [to get the effect],” she recalls. “Our engineer Bryce Gonzales put contact mics in the exhaust manifold of a blown-out 454 Rat Motor.” Still, the found sound works subtly and pairs nicely with Jenny’s hushed whisper of a voice, which recalls another era entirely.
Though she can’t recall which “brilliant mind” came up with the idea, Jenny found the recording process deeply satisfying, and oddly well-timed. “People still love classic American instrumentation and song form,” she says, noting Americana music’s strong showing in the 2013 Grammy nominations, “because they are natural and familiar. Humans still have a place for hands-on-string and close-to-home” sounds,” even if they’re hard to create.
Automechanic comes out February 5th on Holy Trinity. Stream the title track below:Jenny O - Automechanic