Jonas Friddle: the man, the myth, the legend. You can find more about him here: https://jonasfriddle.com.
As his website will tell you, Jonas Friddle is a singer, songwriter and Old-Time banjo player whose songs have received The John Lennon Songwriting Award, First Place in the Great American Song Contest and a nomination for Album of the Year in the Independent Music Awards.
What you can only learn by seeing him play live, especially with Anna Jacobson, is that gentleness is a force to be reckoned with.
The April, 2021 Haiku Milieu concert featured duos, and the musical acts who wrote songs and made videos will be featured in Robin's and my Twos-Day Night Special at Hey Nonny, the fourth Tuesday of every month. More information is here: https://www.heynonny.com.
With this song, it's like Jonas lifted the haiku into the sunlight, saw what it could be, built a warm, inviting house around it, then invited us over to watch the moon rise together from his front porch.
Elevating the song to sweet and slightly wistful heights, is Anna's voice, itself a magical instrument, and her fiddle.
Take a peek at the video here: https://youtu.be/2EWeW2Mk5ts.
Enjoy their reflections on the process below.
Thanks to Jenny for bringing me into the Haiku Milieu world. Coincidently, I spent a considerable amount of time in college translating haiku poems as part of my Japanese language studies. It had been a while since I had sat with a haiku and being part of this project was a great way to come back to it.
To choose which of Jenny’s lovely haiku I would use to write a song, I took a chord progression I’ve had sitting around for a while and played through it on repeat while reading through her book. A metal detector of sorts. After a few mornings it landed on this haiku.
the moon this morning // two tin cans and a long string // between you and me
The combination of the words, the picture and the chord progression sparked a memory of a time I spent all night outside just waiting for the morning.
I had been in Australia for only a week and was renting a room out of a converted motel. The doors still had the automatic locks from their motel days and by stepping out onto the balcony without my keys I managed to lock myself out.
I had nowhere to go and nobody to call and realized I would likely spend the night outside until I could get some help the next morning. I wandered around the town all night. It was decorated for Christmas which was strange because it was so hot. I visited the beach and I slept a little on a park bench under a tree full of cockatoos.
With that memory and Jenny’s words the melody and lyrics for “Two Tin Cans and a Fishing Line” came pretty easy. Which is a nice surprise for a song. I took what I’d come up with and send it over to Anna. Anna always takes every piece of music and add some thing to make it better. I’ll pass it over to her now…
Jonas sent over his tune, and I immediately loved the light, swaying nature of it.
Jonas is pretty easygoing about how I should sing along with his music, usually giving no more instruction than “sing/play at these points” or sometimes even giving me the liberty to decide where the harmonizing should happen.
My process is simple. I play the tune from my phone everywhere I go: in the car, while chasing my kids down the sidewalk, while doing dishes. I hum along until I have a good harmony going for the whole tune, and decide later where I shouldn’t be singing.
In this case, the simple fact of “I can’t memorize lyrics fast enough” relegated my singing to the chorus. Jonas’s music lent itself, as usual, to nice, tight, parallel harmonies. I will admit that I didn’t even see the haiku until after we recorded, but it all made perfect sense when I did.
On Tuesday, September 28, see Jonas Friddle and Anna Jacobson with Jenny and Robin Bienemann at the Twos-Day Night Special at Hey Nonny.