"I guess it would be nice to say it's a sequel, but it's not," Jodi Horovitz says as she emits a big laugh. "Subconsciously, I'm sure, Freedy was spinning around in my head." Singer-songwriter Freedy Johnston, that is, whose fine 1994 album This Perfect World contains an affecting song about incest and child abuse entitled "Evie's Tears." Weird thing: Horovitz has also written an affecting song about incest and child abuse. She calls hers "Evie's Window," and it shows up on Sister Madly, her band's out-next-week self-titled six-song CD.
"Around the time I wrote it I was listening to a ton of unreleased Freedy Johnston stuff from various radio broadcasts," Horovitz recounts. "And I was up late one night watching one of those programs like Hard Copy, and they had these kids on the witness stand for incest cases. I was all by myself and really pissed off, 'cause I was like, Y' know, the kid goes through so much trauma, and then your dilemma is whether or not to put them through it again on the stand in the hope of getting a conviction. Or you don't put them through it, and the person continues to harm other kids. So I was mad about something, and that's a really good place to write from."
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Perhaps the most distinctive track on the hooks-with-heart Sister Madly, the slow, sad, acoustic "Evie's Window" will be released some time in November as a cassette single, with proceeds from its sale going to the local Kids in Distress program, which provides a safe space for abused children. Meanwhile, there's the self-titled EP, recorded by the band (singer-guitarist Horovitz, guitarist Ben Peeler, bassist Shane Soloski, and drummer Bobby MacIntyre) at the Bee Gees' Middle Ear Studios in three short bursts: last November, this past spring, and a one-day session in August to lay down "Evie's Window."
"We had to work around their [the Bee Gees'] schedule," explains Peeler. "We never actually met them, because we had to do it when they were out of town. It sounds great to say 'We used their studio,' but I doubt they could pick us out of a [police] lineup."
Together in this particular configuration for slightly more than a year, Sister Madly went by the tag of Jodi and the Rodeo until recently. "We thought Jodi and the Rodeo sounded very country," notes Peeler, "and a little cutesy. And when you say 'Somebody and the,' that didn't present an accurate image of what we were doing, which was more of a band thing, and not a chick singer with an acoustic guitar. And we're definitely not doing a country thing."
True enough. In fact, Peeler's mandolin, dobro, and lap-steel guitar playing throughout Sister Madly tilt more toward, say, Pete Buck than Pete Drake. But, hey, hear for yourself when Sister Madly throws a record-release party at the Hard Rock Cafe on Monday, November 6. Call 673-4163 for details.