Jonie Blinman and Red Car Slow
The latest album from Reno band Jonie Blinman and Red Car Slow (formerly the Muckrakers) took only six weeks to produce. Yet, while listening to the album, it’s clear each song is backed by a lifetime.
It’s almost like that old story about Pablo Picasso. Supposedly, a woman in a park asked Picasso to sketch her. In a few seconds, he produced a drawing, handed it back to her and requested $5,000. The lady was shocked and said, “But that only took you a moment!” To which Picasso replied, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”
Lead singer Blinman has been playing and writing songs since she was 12 years old. Violinist Kristin Pitman has been playing for almost 14 years. Pianist and backup vocalist Ryan James has his own solo act. Ford Corl brings his jazzy bass rhythm to the band. Their most recent addition, drummer Jeffrey Nicholson, is the odd man out. He’s only been playing drums for the last two years.
The band wasn’t necessarily hoping to produce something so quickly, but they rushed to release the album Point A in time for the Reno Gay Pride Festival. “All in all it kind of shows the strength of the musicians,” says Pitman. “It is something to put out a record of quality in that time.”
Their album officially will be released on Thursday, Aug. 27, with a record release party at the new Tree House Lounge.
In each of the album’s songs, the band has transformed Blinman’s solo act from a simple acoustic strum to full-fledged orchestration that she describes as “a dash of rock, a pinch of pop, some Spanish flavor and the essence of jazz.”
Still, that’s not quite right. It’s easy to pigeonhole Blinman as a Melissa Etheridge-type singer, but she hates that comparison. The best description may be an orchestrated, rock-folk-like genre. Beyond her rusty yet smooth and humbling voice, Blinman sings lyrics that are relatable and honest. A lover has gone away. A girl asks, “Why you, why me, why anything?” In one song, she echoes the profound words, “I believed, I believed, I believed.”
In the song “Days like Today” Blinman writes about the experience of losing her fiancée. She sings, “She didn’t know why but it felt right and she hit it on out and said goodbye/To this day no one knows why she picked up her things and left it all behind.”
She writes so that it’s not too personal to the point of exclusion. Throughout, the songs are intertwined by the theme of a paradigm shift, or overcoming obstacle. In a small garage in Sparks, the band assembles comfortably on a carpeted floor. All of them have come together because, frankly, they believe they can go far.
The album title Point A refers to an exponential curve, where “point A” is the start. The rest of the line continues to curve upward. Everyone agrees Blinman “drives a hard train” but Blinman believes the band can be playing on a national circuit within a year, which, given the band’s success in as little as one month and two weeks, isn’t that hard to believe.
“I don’t believe in coincidence or happenstance,” says Blinman. “You have to forge your own way in this life, and the success you have or what you have is based on how you react.”