As the awakening, brisk-cold wind travelled precipitously over the musty outskirts, I made my first eager step towards the ominous entrance leading into the settlement of those once abandoned souls, and into Carnegie Music Hall. While I continued at a steady pace towards the distant booming, I felt the vibration of familiar sounds. The closer I seemed to get towards the sound, the darker the area became with the stealthily moving shadows dancing with hymnal rock-gospel songs. During this soundcheck I was warmly received by some cool cats traveling under the moniker, My Jerusalem.
Following the soundcheck I sat down in the Carnegie library, adjacent to the hall, with songwriter Jeff Klein to discuss their new record Preachers. An audio interview can be heard below.
Austin, Texas has always produced killer musicians and popular bands. The city itself carries a creative energy that occasionally sidesteps the blues fueled product. Jeff Klein, and his band My Jerusalem, not only side stepped the Texas sound but have given it a new outlet. Tuesday night was their first stop in Pittsburgh. Homestead’s historic Carnegie Music Hall exudes a dusty warm vibrance that invites good sounds but tonight they got a little more.
During My Jerusalem’s opening set for The Wallflowers, I found myself in a whole new unnatural world. There were huge amounts of smallness in an extremely vast area contained in by gloomy, overpowering lyrics. Before entering the cosmic I noticed that there seemed to be no stars in the sky except for one, the band itself. Led by the one two punch of Geena Spigarelli (bass) and Grant Van Amburgh (drums) the band weaved through much of the material off Preachers with road tested confidence and demeanor. Jeff Klein offered up stories told through a crooners voice pushing the songs with shadowy energy. Jon Merz handled the melodic sourcing, going back and forth between multiple instruments sure handily. Collectively, My Jerusalem brought a sound homogeneous with their studio effort but branching into a realm where they rely on each other to transcend the songs. Their sound seemed to be strongly battling and competing with the rest of the darkness in the sky….and this is their comfort zone.
The band powered up when Wallflower keyboardist, Rami Jaffee, joined them for the last three songs. It’s obvious that Klein has found a starting point for a vision he’s had for some time. He is a man who incessantly strives to tell a story. Judging by the reaction of the crowd his stories will be retold again and again.
With the gathering in Carnegie Music Hall adequately warmed up My Jerusalem slipped away to their place, the shadows of tomorrow.
by Rob Eldridge
Writer & Photographer, PMM