Chrissie Hynde (left) rocks out with her new partner JP Jones at a JBTV taping in Chicago. (Tom Cruze/Sun-Times)Chrissie Hynde is back in the states, shopping around a new album — her first without the Pretenders. But it’s not a solo album. Hynde (how’s this for rock ‘n’ roll at age 58?) met a guy in a bar a while back, they flew to Havana and wrote an album together. The guy is J.P. Jones, a feline Welsh guy who had a band overseas called Grace. Some of his mates are playing behind him and Ms. Hynde, and the new collective is called JP, Chrissie and the Fairground Boys.
The record will be out in August, but Hynde, Jones and guitarist Patrick Murdoch have been drumming up some attention for the new tunes by playing acoustic gigs at radio and TV across the country. They taped a segment here for Chicago’s JBTV on May 13; that episode airs at 11 tonight on WJYS-Channel 62 and will be available online Thursday a.m.
They played eight songs — including “If You Let Me” (that’ll be the first single), “Fairground Luck,” “Australia,” “Perfect Lover,” even Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” — fairly gritty stuff but with a pretty fine grain. Jones may be from Wales (and proudly so), but he’s very Americana. Which, they both say, is why they’re here instead of Jones’ native and Hynde’s adopted homeland of the UK.
“There’s nothing happening in music over there right now,” Hynde told me after the taping. “It’s all pop crap. … We came over here five weeks ago looking for interest. People don’t do it like this anymore. There’s still all this waiting and planning a strategy. I just wanna get on with it. Why not? I mean, we met in a bar.”
You can just meet Chrissie Hynde in a bar?! I need to drink more.
Catch the JBTV clips, and stay tuned. I’ll write more about the music and our interview later, when there’s a record you can hear. In the meantime, check out a sampler here.