DATE: AUGUST 12, 2021
FROM: MITCH SCHNEIDER/MARCEE RONDAN
AMERICANA ARTIST PI JACOBS
RELEASES EVOCATIVE TRACK
“NO SIN TO BE POOR”
WITH IMAGERY-RICH ANIMATED VIDEO
CREATED BY TURKISH SURREAL ARTIST MERTCAN MERTBILEK
THE SONG MARKS THE THIRD RELEASE
FROM THE ACCLAIMED AMERICANA ARTIST’S
NEW ALBUM ‘LIVE FROM MEMPHIS’
OUT AUGUST 13 VIA BLACKBIRD RECORD LABEL
UPCOMING SHOWS INCLUDE LOS ANGELES (AUGUST 28),
NEW YORK CITY (OCTOBER 3),
NASHVILLE (SEPTEMBER 23 AND 25),
WASHINGTON DC (SEPTEMBER 30)
AND HER SAN FRANCISCO HOMETOWN (OCTOBER 15)
On her new album LIVE FROM MEMPHIS, due August 13 via Blackbird Record Label, acclaimed Americana singer, songwriter and musician PI JACOBS peels back many layers of her life and sensibility in both the songs and the story intro’s that she narrated for each song.
An outstanding example of this is the Los Angeles-based artist’s new and third track “No Sin To Be Poor,” which is based on her own life growing up poor in Northern California. The song is accompanied by an imagery-rich animated video created by Turkish surreal artist Mertcan Mertbilek, who did the same honors for the album’s first release, “First Thing Tomorrow.” Watch the “No Sin To Be Poor” video here, which was premiered yesterday by American Songwriter. Listen to the song here and the story intro here. Pre-order the album here.
With her blend of roots-rock swagger and storytelling soul, Pi Jacobs distinctively amplifies the concert experience on LIVE FROM MEMPHIS (her first album for the label and ninth overall): it places eight original songs alongside the self-narrated personal stories that shaped them. Recorded with a full band, the project offers a sincere and sometimes funny look at her formative years, her family relationships, and even a few lessons she’s learned along the way.
In the compelling “No Sin To Be Poor,” Pi reflects about the hardship of poverty:
Oh Mary get back in the line
As if you got nothing but time,
You gotcha kids counting on you
Waiting on stamps for food
But it’s no Sin
Three jobs and a couple a babies
Oh Mary you ain’t never been lazy
But you can’t make water from wine
You’re paying that rent on time
Girl it’s no sin..
–What inspired the song “No Sin To Be Poor”?
PI: I was thinking about my mom, who was young, single and didn’t have a lot of support. She worked SO hard, but occasionally we had to go on public assistance. She ended up becoming the first person in our family to graduate college. She went on to become a public-school teacher, and a shining example of public service. When I was young, I didn’t know we were poor, but of course as I got older, I started feeling different and “other” because my house was janky, or because I only had a few cheap clothes, or got picked up in a car that had the paint peeling off. Kids can be cruel sometimes. The crazy part is that we had SO MUCH FUN, even with nothing. We made up games in the dirt, simply by using our imaginations. And as poor as we were, my mom always saw to it that we had art, literature, and music in our lives, and ironically, those things made me feel very rich.
–Can you talk about the video for the song and why you chose that direction?
PI: I really fell in love with Mertcan Mertbilek’s style. He is so fun and surreal, while conveying the deep heart of any story. I had him listen to the “story intro” for “No Sin To Be Poor,” as well as the lyrics. The story intro talks a lot about the government food we had to live on when I was young, and how we grew veggies in a garden and supplemented that. I think he really grasped the “making a bad situation good” aspect of “No Sin To Be Poor.”
–Your songs have always been revealing. What led you to decide to record a story intro for each song on the album? In these story intro’s, you peel back even more layers of yourself.
PI: Well, I might live to regret it ha-ha!
In last year’s lockdown, I really couldn’t write music, but I felt a deep need to get these stories off my chest. I felt like I had been being a bit chickenshit, because in a song, you can be a little vague. I wanted to really tell the truth, in fact writing the stories felt quite compulsive, I just couldn’t stop. All I can hope is that these stories resonate and help people. I asked myself who they were for, because “Adult Children of Hippies” are a really SMALL segment of society. Then I realized that my friends who grew up ultra-religious had the same issues. Being brought up “outside the norm” with parents who are purposefully “rejecting society” or aspects of society, well that’s hard as a kid–You’re not ‘normal’, it’s not your choice, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I wanted to really own the things I’d been dancing around in my songs. I was terrified to show these stories to my mom, but it turns out, she is ok with them. She even helped coach me on how to deliver them (she’s an actress and writer). There’s been a lot of growth and healing for us, and I no longer feel like I’m hiding myself from everyone.
On the concert front, Pi Jacobs’ upcoming itinerary includes shows in Los Angeles (August 28), Nashville (September 23 and 25), Washington DC (September 30), New York City (October 3) and her San Francisco hometown (October 15).
8/28 – Hotel Cafe’ Los Angeles – TICKETS
9/23 – Nashville, Dee’s – 12-4 – The California Country Show @ Americana Fest – free entry for the festival
9/25 – Nashville – The Bowery Vault – 12 noon – The California Country Shakeup @ Americana Fest – free entry for the festival
9/30 – The Pocket, Washington DC + Annie Stokes – TICKETS COMING SOON
10/3 – Rockwood Music Hall, Rm 3, NYC – TICKETS
The music on LIVE FROM MEMPHIS comes from PI’s live taping for Ditty TV, which was filmed without an audience. For the set list, she drew six songs from 2020’s Two Truths and a Lie and two others from 2017’s A Little Blue. But rather than using the between-songs banter intended for the viewing audience, she took a page from one of her favorite NPR podcasts and decided to share more of herself than ever before by narrating the songs with revealing intros.
The LIVE FROM MEMPHIS track list is here.
(Photo credit: Deb Morrisson Little, @shotsbymorrison)