Jenny From Thebes (Yellow/Black split Vinyl)
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“Jenny From Thebes” began its life as many albums by The Mountain Goats do, with John Darnielle playing the piano until a lyric emerged. That lyric, “Jenny was a warrior/Jenny was a thief/Jenny hit the corner clinic begging for relief” became “Jenny III”, a song which laid down a challenge he’d never taken up before: writing a sequel to one of his most beloved albums.
The Mountain Goats’ catalogue is thick with recurring characters – Jenny, who originally appears in the “All Hail West Texas” track bearing her name, as well as in “Straight Six” from “Jam Eater Blues” and “Transcendental Youth” side two jam “Night Light”, is one of these. “Jenny From Thebes” is the story of Jenny, her southwestern ranch style house, the people for whom that house is a place of safety, and the west Texas town that is uncomfortable with its existence. Lifted by Matt Douglas’ horn and string arrangements, the dreamy guitar of Bully leader Alicia Bognanno, and backing vocals from Kathy Valentine of The Go-Go’s and Matt Nathanson, “Jenny From Thebes” is a widescreen musical in scope, a melodrama of richly detailed characters and sweeping emotions.