Jill Sobule kissed a girl first. Let’s get that out of the way. Not only that, she did it in a much better written, far more interesting song rife with innuendo (“we’ll have our pearls), beauty, and introspection. She wasn’t just fucking around a club with a few guys watching, making out to get everybody hot but not feeling anything herself.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, Jill Sobule has been dropped by her record label (but not by her genius producer Don Was), and tells the story on her new record, California Years, an album that is easily as good as any she’s released before, if not better. It’s got passion and humor, gentle guitar, wonderful singing, and everything else you expect from this too-unrecognized pop folkster.
The new record was funded entirely by her fans, who preordered downloads and hard copies (and a ten-thousand-dollar donation got a fan the right to sing on the record–see the song “Mexican Pharmacy”). Of course, this kind of indie financing is possible only from an artist with an established fan base, and Jill’s was largely due to her history of being on a major label, but between this record and Radiohead’s effort on In Rainbows, there’s lots of fodder for executives of small to mid-size labels to get creative. (And are there anything but small to mid-size labels anymore, anyway?)
“God was proud,” she sings on “League of Failures.” Indeed. Here’s a song where she tells the tale, along with my favorite tune on the record. Please buy it. I don’t ask y’all to do that often, but she totally deserves your $$$.
All the Young Dudes (Mott the Hoople cover)-Jill Sobule and Billy Bragg (direct link). Note: This is the Jill Sobule original “Heroes,” not the Bowie tune.