When I was a kid and first discovered the music that would begin to define me, most of it was guitar driven, played by bands predominantly fronted by female singers.
I’m talking Pat Benatar, Heart, Blondie, The Motels.
Not every band stuck with me for the long haul, but some like Benatar, I’ve never been able to shake. That voice backed by Neil Giraldo’s wailing guitar. Jesus help me, I’ve been saved.
Jo Wymer is a lot like Benatar. She growls, purrs and isn’t afraid to hit the high notes with gusto throughout her hook-laden debut, Living With Scars.
It’s literally a tour de force of potential hits, songs that are radio-ready, if radio had any soul left and wasn’t auto-tuned to hell and steered by programmers, not deejays, deciding which four songs go on heavy rotation and which 15 “classics” serve as hourly filler.
Like Benatar, she has a hell of a backing band, a damn fine guitarist and enough attitude to keep an audience enthralled.
Here’s the problem, though.
Wymer, who hails from New Jersey, isn’t on a label. She self-produced her album. She’s playing lots of local festivals and logging the necessary hours to establish herself, but how’s that supposed to help her feed her family? A labor of love is great, but in a down economy, it would be nice to get paid for kicking so much musical ass.
I think Wymer’s fate rests with so many other deserving artists who struggle and fight to be heard. She just needs a lucky break, a record executive, or better yet, television producer, to hear her album, to listen to the stories that she spins in her songs, the wonderfully vivid narratives that she belts out like a woman scorned.
These days, it doesn’t take a hit album to break big. All it takes is for someone high-enough up on the production chain of a show like The Vampire Diaries or Fringe, hell, even cheesy crap like Grey’s Anatomy, to take a shine to one of the stronger tracks off Living With Scars, and there are plenty, and lobby to include it on the show.
I can totally see “Dirty Secrets” or “Stay Away From Me” or “That Kiss” playing through a musical interlude, that portion of the hour-long drama where there’s no dialogue, just a succession of scenes that propel specific storylines.
With her vivid imagery, Wymer’s songs play perfectly to this niche.
For now, though, Wymer and her band need your help, they need your support, they need you to go out and buy her album. Trust me, it’s worth the cost. This is damn good guitar rock with just enough honkytonk inflection to make you move in your seat.