"Denmark" by Wonky Tonk from Mopics on Vimeo.
Jasmine Lorraine “Wonky Tonk” Poole grew up in the hard scrabble portion of the American heartland. Kentucky, to be precise. Her world of loss and longing is familiar terrain for lovers of country, bluegrass and folk music but, just as Kentucky can be viewed as a bridge between north and south, Wonk’s music blends elements of indie/alternative rock with old school country. It’s hard to separate the wonk from the tonk. Nor should you try.
Wonk’s influences, John Prine, Guy Clark, Modest Mouse and Loretta Lynn among them (especially Loretta), are apparent but her music is not derivative. Loretta, Skeeter Davis, Iris Dement and Jenny Lewis come to mind but none of her comparables quite pin her down. Wonk is her own cowgirl. “Cowgirls get up in the morning, decide what to do and do it”, she was told as a child. Fiercely independent but naturally shy Jasmine uses her alter ego and blue cowgirl boots to deal with the notion of impossibly cruel but equally exhilarating existence.
Her eleven song debut release Stuff We Leave Behind deals with the necessity of moving on at critical points in your life. Stuff that once seemed important must be cast aside, ex-lovers relegated to the shadows. “Heartbreak makes the jukebox play”, she was once told. Her song titles reflect her wandering spirit and a fascination with time and place. “Cleveland.” “Denmark.” “Tennessee.” “Montague Road.” A veteran troubadour at such a tender age, Wonk has toured Europe with the same restless drive as her native Northern Kentucky.
Tom Robbins told us that even Cowgirls Get the Blues but all is not remorse and regret. Jangly sunshine pops through the clouds unexpectedly, such as in “Parkland Avenue”. Though softly. Without the glare. The album tracks her evolution as an artist and a person. The gravel, rutted road to an emerging wisdom.