Maryn Jones gets personal with her stripped-down solo project Yowler | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Maryn Jones gets personal with her stripped-down solo project Yowler 

click to enlarge Yowler


Sam Split

It’s a hallmark of excellent songwriting when a tune delivered in a stripped-down format on acoustic guitar and vocals is every bit as alluring as if it were performed by a full band. Maryn Jones, whose previous projects include indie-folk bands Saintseneca and All Dogs, creates solo material under the name Yowler, and she keeps her instrumentation minimal to allow her raw talent to shine. Jones’s voice and deeply vulnerable lyrics demand an immediate intimacy; watching her onstage feels like a rainy-day crying session with a close friend. She's exhibited that quality on her 2015 debut, The Offer, as well as throughout her subsequent tours opening for Grouper, the solo project of Liz Harris, who like Jones has a strong intuitive streak and invites hazy sorrow into her musical atmospheres. Yowler’s new album, October’s Black Dog in My Path (Double Double Whammy), highlights Jones’s courage and emotional intelligence, and while lyrics such as “Drenched in a planet’s love / And she’s drowning / And I’m drowning” (from “WTFK”) feel deeply and uncomfortably personal to the songwriter herself, she’s open enough to bring listeners in. The effect of it all is reminiscent of our own overwhelming existences, and the helplessness we feel in watching the world around us collapse through global warming and political strife. Though Jones’s songs are deceptively straightforward on first listen, there are layers within them that reward careful listeners with richness. Just let go, and let the listlessness in.   v

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