Posts Tagged ‘Glamping’

RJMJ - Glamping

“Glamping is a portmanteau of glamorous and camping and describes a style of camping with amenities and, in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with ‘traditional’ camping.”

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And now that you know what Glamping properly means, we finally have a sound to associate with it as well, in the form of Roger Joseph Manning Jr.’s new solo EP of the same title. So, let me first ask, how do YOU know about Roger and his many sonic contributions to the universe? Maybe you recently discovered a tiny mad scientist keyboard madman on a tour with Beck? Or…maybe you have hung on since his college rock indie days back in the late 80’s when he joined Beatnik Beatch with Andy Sturmer? For me, it’s what happened after Beatnik which put Roger on my radar at a very young age, that project was Jellyfish. Ask me about that another time if you already don’t know of how that band changed my life. Roger has been turning out music for 30 plus years at this point. Whether he’s doing session work, or pushing the envelope with one of his own original bands or giving us polished and scrutinized solo work…whatever it is, he’s certainly giving stellar efforts.

So…let’s discuss Glamping, cause for this moment, that is why we are here. This is Roger’s first new solo recording in about 10 years. And his agenda, as far as I know, was to put more solo music out for the last few years but he had gotten caught up with some other cool work outside of his own – Last Winter RJMJ surprised us all with an absolutely unreal Pledge Music campaign which would coincide with the release of Glamping…to get it out, to get it in the hands of music lovers and beyond. This was no regular run of the mill campaign. With this, came a peek into Roger’s world a bit. Video updates while on tour with Beck kept a smile on our faces, a glance (literally) into his closest as he sold off Jellyfish clothing from the early nineties (WOW!) Pieces of gear he was parting with, chances to hang and record shop with him and a slew of other fun and juicy bits to be involved with. Hardly 48 hours had passed on that campaign and a number of components had sold out. Roger considered it a huge success and I know was very touched by the response. And, because of that very reason he has promised more solo music, sooner than later. This whole thing also allowed him to reissue his first two records which both had Japanese releases and under the radar domestic ones as well. There is a lot to get into here and I don’t want to veer off course too much more…

So, again…Glamping. This 4 song EP is quite an appetizer to what will hopefully be followed soon by a main course. A contribution that leaves you with a belly rumbling, it whets a pallet that had been starving for a taste for nearly a decade. The perfect and pristine songwriting in which Roger has painted himself into a decadent corner for so long does not disappoint. An avid fan of the 70’s, Mr. Manning certainly wears his heart and influences on his sleeve for this one, maybe more than ever(?) It’s a very focused and streamlined collection of songs. Perhaps the fact that there are only four songs this go round didn’t leave much room for the wackier more experimental stuff to creep in. What you have here is four delicate yet deliberate songs keen on love, playful on adventure and confident in delivery. The production is clean and smooth with Roger doing the bulk of the work with a little help from some amazing friends. Brother Chris (the Witchdoctor himself) is present with some assistance in the vocal department and helping in general to bring all of this out of RJMJ. Jason Falkner plays some guitar, Bleu McAuley sings a little, Lyle Workman plays a bit of guitar too…it’s a cavalcade of radical folks curating a really unbelievable set of tunes that ends just a bit soon. These songs are sang so sweetly, it always sounds like Roger has a smile on his face when he sings and that attitude really comes across here. First track, “Operator” is a cute and clever song sprinkled with a dash of loneliness, “Operator, I need a favor…could you take some time, I’m in need of a connection in the worst way, so don’t say goodbye.” A song possibly too smart for it’s own good! Next up is “Funhouse”, which is appropriately titled as it is probably the most playful of the set, sounding like it could easily transport you to the carnival with just a little imagination. It is also, the only song which Roger writes the lyrics to completely on his own, the others have Chris Price assisting or handling them in full. Third track, “Is it All A Dream?” is my personal favorite, it’s just such a beautiful song with a chorus that you’ll be singing for days, a perfect pop song with hook, line and sinker. The EP ends with the longest in the collection, “I’m Not Your Cowboy”, a modest song about a modern man who simply knows his place and graciously accepts his role as a non-superhero. Perhaps the most complex of the songs, “Cowboy” is triumphant and ends the release big. The musicianship throughout is top notch of course. I just wish in the end that Roger had handled all of the lyrics on his own. Either way, can’t wait for more original music from Mr. Manning!

Listen to first track on Glamping, “Operator” below!

ALSO, If you have extra time, check out this great conversation I had with Roger a few years ago in which he drops many hints about Beck, Glamping and a bunch of other cool stuff!