OK it is now February and in the immortal words of Monty Python – Now for something completely different!
For our February Album of the Month we feature “Margaret” by Jason Webley and friends. Four months ago I had never heard of Jason even though he likes to run around the world and perform. In fact the only person I’d heard that is on his CD is Jherick Bischoff, who I have a little music by and who I consider quite good.
Not sure how it came to my attention but it might have been something I ran into when Jimm McIver was doing his Kickstarter project for his new album Sunlight Reaches. Dunno. For sure I ran into it as a Kickstarter project. I watched the video and read their stuff and said man I need this. The Summary. A guy finds a scrapbook of Margaret Rucker from Everett WA (the family Rucker street is named after) in a dumpster in San Francisco and ten years later shares the remnants with Jason who is from Everett who is so inspired by this he and a bunch of his friends write a bunch of songs, do a big show in Everett make a CD and an 88 page hardcover book.
Late last November it came in the mail. At first I thought the package was really cool but I was not so sure that the music was really my deal. By listen #3 I was really diggin’ it and ended up putting it in my Top Ten for the Year. Now you know you can hear the whole thing here for the month of February for free, but if you want my opinion – you want to go buy it now right here. The whole package is pretty damn cool. I might have to go up to Everett soon and climb the Pyramid.
In other news you may need to attend a performance by the OF this month 100% live and free at Marko’s Tavern in beautiful Roslyn. Power to the People! Will they play soul stirring songs from the soon-to-be-released Escapegoat? Yes, yes, yes. you know they will. Will they play beautiful songs from their debut, Oh, It’s The OF. Yes, yes. How far to Roslyn from Seatown? Only 83.2 miles. Boom!
The Album: Margaret
1. My Love Left me in April – Jason Webley
2. Lark of My Heart – Eliza Rickman
3. Spring and Fall – Shenandoah Davis
4. Old Haunts – Led to Sea
5. Dear Margaret – Mts. & Tunnels
6. Night – Jherek Bischoff
7. Sonnet – Shenandoah Davis
8. Patches – Led to Sea
9. Maker of my Sorrow – Eliza Rickman
10. First Day – Lonesome Leash
11. Firefly – Lonesome Leash
12. Possession Sound – Zac Pennington
13. Pyramid – Jason Webley
14. My Love Left Me In April – Ensemble
15. Eyes of Margaret – Ensemble
15 song CD
and 88 page hardcover book
An old scrapbook found in a San Francisco dumpster, an enigmatic pyramid that presides over a small town in Washington State, and a story too implausible to have been fabricated.
Jason Webley presents “Margaret”, a full length album and hardcover book based on the life and writings of Margaret Rucker, a poet whose tragic serendipitous story was rescued from the bottom of a garbage bin.
Featuring new music by Jason Webley, Eliza Rickman, Jherek Bischoff, Led to Sea, Shenandoah Davis, Lonesome Leash, Zac Pennington, and Mts. & Tunnels, and writings by Jason Webley and Chicken John Rinaldi.
There’s no such thing as garbage.
©2014 by the individual artists.
Produced by Jason Webley.
A true story from Jason Webley
Last April, a friend was visiting me in Everett. Ok… I know I always say that I live in Seattle, but I actually live in Everett. Weird, right? Why would I live there? I don’t know – my family is close, I have good friends and god-kids there, and I think my house is pretty cool… But anyway, my friend is visiting me in Everett, we are driving around, and she asks me, “what’s the deal with the Ruckers?”
If you know Everett, the name is probably familiar – there’s a bunch of buildings, a major street, and even a whole neighborhood bearing the Rucker name. Being the great historian that I am, I told my friend, “I have no idea.” I thought for a moment, then added, “but let me show you something really cool.”
I took her to the old cemetery, where atop a big hill stands a huge 30-foot tall granite pyramid with the name ‘Rucker’ embossed across the stone. It is monolithic, ominous, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it (actually, it bears a strong resemblance to the Mayan ruins in Guatemala.) Teenagers often climb on it and drink beer. We didn’t have any beer, but we climbed on top anyways. It is kind of terrifying up there.
A couple days later I was in San Francisco, staying with my friend Chicken John. Chicken is an interesting guy. He used to run the bar where I used to play down there. He also used to run a circus, helped start a festival called Burning Man, played guitar in GG Allin’s band, and ran an impressive and hilarious campaign for Mayor of San Francisco. So, I’m walking down the street with him and his wife, telling him what I’ve been up to, and I mention something about Everett.
He stops walking. His face takes on an odd aspect.
“Everett? You live in Everett?”
“When we get home, there’s something I need to show you.”
Years before Chicken was walking in San Francisco late at night and found a huge dumpster in front of a house – like someone had died and the entirety of their life was being discarded. He looked inside to see if there was anything worth selling. But he was drawn to an old scrapbook detailing the life of a woman born in 1907. It began with her birth certificate and ended with her obituary. He was taken in by the old photographs, newspaper clippings and pieces of the woman’s poetry, published in the 1920’s. I won’t tell the whole story here, but her life was tragic and her writing was dark and beautiful – sometimes heartbreaking.
He ended up holding onto that scrapbook for years. Whenever he had visitors, he’d bring out the book and say, “there’s somebody I’d like you to meet.”
Eventually, he decided he couldn’t keep the thing forever and held a show at his bar – a memorial for this unknown woman. He put together a slideshow of images from the book. After showing the slideshow, a band played and he put the scrapbook on a table. Audience members were invited to each take away a photograph, a clipping, or a poem, until eventually someone took away the empty book itself.
All that remains now is the slideshow on his computer, which is what he showed me that night.
The woman was born in Everett, and her name was Margaret Rucker.
She was the daughter of Bethel Rucker, one of the brothers who essentially founded the city. And her obituary, the last image of the slideshow, showed that she was buried in the Rucker mausoleum in Everett, the crazy pyramid that I had just climbed with my friend two days before.
There’s someone I’d like you to meet.
Music inspired by the life and writings of Margaret Rucker