You all know the children’s song called “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,” right?When you start singing it, or someone gets it in your head (like right now), you end up repeating the words over and over and over…
I wonder if this is the same for singer Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster. When he comes out on stage do people start chanting or singing “Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster” over and over and over. Yeah, probably not, it doesn’t flow quite as well, but when I typed out his name the first thing which popped into my head was…
His name is my name, too
Whenever we go out
The people always shout
There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
And now that you will be hexing me for the next hour since I included all the fun lyrics to your childhood nursery rhyme, let’s talk about Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster’s new album Take Heart, Take Care, which comes out August 30 on Big Legal Mess Records.
The former Water Liars (14+ million streams on Spotify) indie-folk artist who has previously released three albums with Water Liars, 2012’s Phantom Limb, 2013’s Wyoming and 2014’s eponymous LP. Those were met well and achieved success on the indie stream, even getting nods from NPR, Billboard, NY Times, and Paste Magazine.
The lyrics in “Educated Guess,” the second single from this sophomore album, are far less innocent, and I do not suggest teaching them to your children. Critics have stated that they feel this album is less dark than previous work from Kinkel-Schuster, but if that is the case then I do not want to know about the darkness which consumed his mind at that time.
Perhaps it is that Take Heart, Take Care, has more of a balance between dark and light. If anything perhaps from the depths of his writing there are some tracks during which you can almost sense the light at the end of some hypothetical tunnel? I’m really not quite sure.
When asked about the feel behind his album, Kinkel-Schuster said, “Here I’ve fumbled my way, as always, and of necessity, into a collection of songs that hold a light to the joys and comforts of life not given up on, those that appear over time as we are looking elsewhere, to surprise and delight us when we need them most. Sure, it’s me, so there are glimpses of and nods to the dark, but the dark is not winning anymore. I simply mean to acknowledge its presence. To me, that’s the most fundamental job of songs, of stories, of all art—to be allies, friends, companions, when we need them most and it’s my hope that these songs can do that work in a world that seems to need it.”
“So there are glimpses of and nods to the dark, but the dark is not winning anymore.” – JPKS
On the title track he sings, “Time is the mender / whose strange mechanics / yet untold / bid us rise entwined together.” See what I mean is this darkness or is it just coming from some great depth where you have to look a little bit harder to see the light? It’s like when you received books in AP English in high school and you had to read the same passage over and over again?
Granted lyrically, Kinkel-Schuster might not be my cup of tea, but as an artist he is quite talented and sweeps each verse into something beautiful. For the pain he seems to have endured in his life, he truly has a genuine, soulful voice which makes his music worth a listen or two, but also would make it worth going to see him perform live.
As with his strongest work, this album conjures humid southern nights with unpredictable scenes and lines that cut to the core, as is true of most country music. Which leads me to my next point, Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster feels like a country artist to me, or at the very least folk rock.
“If you are lucky enough have something good to say, say it. Please. We’ll thank each other, now and later.” – JPKS
Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster Tour Dates
Sept 4 – Oxford, MS – Southside Gallery
Sept 5 – Nashville, TN – Basement
Sept 6 – Indianapolis, IN – LO-FI Lounge
Sept 7 – Davenport, IA – Raccoon Motel
Sept 8 – Madison, WI – Kiki’s House of Righteous Music
Sept 9 – Chicago, IL – SPACE
Sept 10 – St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway
Sept 12 – Bloomington, IN – Blockhouse Bar
Sept 13 – Cincinnati, OH – Motr Pub
Sept 14 – Ft. Wayne, IN – Brass Rail
Sept 16 – Athens, OH – Casa Nuevo
Sept 17 – Baltimore, MD – Club 603
Sept 18 – Washington DC – Songbyrd
Sept 19 – Brooklyn, NY – Alphaville
Sept 20 – York, PA – Kable House
Sept 21 – Richmond, VA – Richmond Music Hall
Sept 22 – Raleigh NC – Neptunes
Sept 24 – Charleston, SC – Royal American
Sept 25 – Atlanta, GA – 529
Sept 26 – Birmingham, AL – Mom’s Basement
Sept 27 – Jackson, MS – Martin’s
Sept 28 – Little Rock, AR – White Water Tavern
Oct 15 – Dallas,TX – Wild Detectives
Oct 16 – Austin,TX – Hotel Vegas
Oct 17 – Marfa,TX – Lost Horse Saloon
Oct 18 – Tucson, AZ – Boxyard
Oct 19 – Phoenix, AZ – Yucca Tap Room
Oct 21 – Los Angeles, CA – Gold Diggers
Oct 23 – Santa Cruz,CA – Crepe Place
Oct 24 – San Francisco,CA – Hotel Utah
Oct 28 – Seattle, WA – Sunset Tavern
Oct 29 – Portland, OR – Liquor Store
Oct 30 – Spokane,WA – The Bartlett
Nov 1 – Walla Walla, WA – Billsville West
Nov 3 – Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
Nov 5 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s