I have always felt that the first Jude/Ross LP has been the best thing I have ever been a part of. I was asked to come in to produce halfway through recording. I was given a lot of control in the process even though we worked within small parameters. To me, it is one of the finest records ever put out by a Texas band.
In the beginning of 2008, Jude/Ross was a very unhip band. Starting as an alt. country affair (a ground well paved in Austin), the band did not end the year as it had begun. Changing keys, deconstructing songs, morphing melodies and focusing on honesty in their craft were all devices that were used to continually find passion and newness in what could have become a mundane set of 10 songs. This collection is a celebration of that inspiration.
Essentially, Jude/Ross found themselves on a new plane in 2008 - the astral plane as it were. Songs like 'Evelynn', 'Thin July', and 'The Knife' started out as Dylan-type exercises that evolved into highly original pieces of a puzzle that were put together over the course of their first LP. (An early version of 'Evelynn' starts this comp) But, it wasn't until 'Delmar Lanes' that Jude/Ross began to try on their new brand of music. One listen to 'Shame The Devil' (an early version of 'Delmar Lanes') and you can hear all the past frustrations of the songs being let out.
"I wanna paint that wall as red as Jesus!"
This is where we begin to hear what they called The New Architecture.
Jude/Ross never sold out venues or even had a crowd larger than 20 or 30 people, but they did challenge themselves in every recording and performance. I recall seeing them play such songs as Westerberg's 'Vampires and Failures', The Soft Boys' 'I Wanna Destroy You', The Replacements' 'Waitress In The Sky' and even trying 'Surfer Girl' by The Beach Boys in rehearsal, which prompted one of the members in the band to leave. He refused to play the song.
These covers were a testament to their love of music and their willingness to experiment in the face of hipster crowds in empty Austin clubs. Included on this collection are covers of 'I Can't Stand It' and 'I'll Be Your Mirror' by The Velvet Underground, 'Give It To Me' by The Troggs, and a rare take on 'Nighttime' by Big Star combined with an interesting take on 'Horn' by Nick Drake. Though a little warbly, these recordings capture the reach that the band was making toward their own art.
And what made that reach so interesting was the band never really strayed from those 10 songs found on their first LP. They had somehow found a way to always keep the songs interesting and meaningful. They were known for changing keys or lyrics from gig to gig, sometimes changing the vocal melodies to where they were way ahead of the beat or even far behind.
All this made for exciting performances - listen to the live version of 'Dead Everyday.' More importantly it gave the band an intimate understanding of each song - an attribute that is truly rare in modern music. Using the same concepts that earlier bands like Television and The Modern Lovers had once practiced, Jude/Ross continually challenged their 26 minute set and drove it to its limit.
I once read that those who start a revolution are rarely present to see its end. I’d like to think that Jude/Ross was something of a revolution, at least to me - a sum greater than its parts that was finished before it even started. Below is the press release for their Self Titled LP:
Jude/Ross is the sound of a rock'n'roll band playing 10 songs in 26 minutes. The album is independent in its realism and minimal approach, in contrast to the popular indie trends of irony and excess.
From the lyric sheet to the instrumentation and arrangements, the songs were pared down to their bones, then dressed in jeans and a white t-shirt. The band played together in a room and recorded to tape with few overdubs. The result is a warm, clean stereo mix--kept analog until the closing step of mastering.
When Michael began Jude/Ross in 2005, it was simply an exercise in songwriting and recording in a little house in Houston. It is currently a four-piece rock'n'roll band in Austin, featuring Geoff Dupree on guitar, Drew Emmons on bass, and Kyle Ponder on drums. The recording band for this album would not be complete without our producer Randy Reynolds, our engineer Scott Oliphant, and the keys of Joel Mullins.
"With the help of my friends, who end up doing most of the real work of turning these words and melody into a rock'n'roll song, I am trying to do something simple and modern--document time."
Jude/Ross played their last gig on 9/26/09 at Club Deville in Austin, TX. And while they never saw fame or fortune, they did manage to make an impression on me that remains an endless well of inspiration to draw from. I think Rick Clark said it best in the liner notes for 'Third/Sister Lovers' by Big Star:
"Its uncompromising presentation and its profound effect...justly gives it the right to be designated as a true classic."
I think the same can be said for Jude/Ross.
liner notes by Randy Reynolds
Songs featured on this compilation:
1. Evelynn (from the self released album '9')
2. Girl You Got The Movement (rehearsal tape)
3. Shame The Devil (early take from 'Jude/Ross' LP)*
4. Give It To Me (Live @ Trophy's 11/29/08))
5. I Can't Stand It (Live @ Carousel Lounge 10/30/08)
6. Dead Everyday (Live @ Hole In The Wall 01/05/09)*
7. Stolen Day (home demo)
8. Nighttime/Horn (Live @ The Parlor 04/21/08)
9. I'll Be Your Mirror (home recording)
10. Bells (Rosas demos)**
11. Clarity (Rosas demos)**
12. It's All Part Of It, Babe (self released single)
13. To You (home demo) + Postcard Smile (recorded Boston 2006)
released December 21, 2011
recorded by Michael Ross
*recorded by Scott Oliphant
**recorded by Andrew Rosas
mastered by Seth Gibbs @ Superpop Studios
artwork and design by Chase Maclaskey