Founded by singer/songwriter Lincoln Barr in 2003, Seattle pop aficionados Red Jacket Mine have evolved from a home recording project into a pop & soul powerhouse over their decade-plus history, garnering critical praise and heavy independent radio rotation (particularly from hometown tastemaker KEXP) along the way.
Barr describes the band’s early releases (2008’s Hello, Old Cloud and 2009’s Lovers Lookout – the latter of which was produced by the Posies’ Ken Stringfellow) as ‘twilit pop’ – autumnal and atmospheric, displaying ambitious songcraft in spades, but lacking the fire and focus of the band’s later efforts. When Oklahoma-born keyboardist Daniel Walker joined Barr and longtime drummer Andrew Salzman in 2012, the band found its stride, finally in possession of the palette necessary to realize Barr’s newly-concise, soulful pop compositions. This period also marked the beginning of the band’s fruitful collaboration with producer/engineer Johnny Sangster (The Tripwires/Mudhoney).
2013 was a banner year for Red Jacket Mine, highlighted by the release of the critically-lauded Someone Else’s Cake LP on Fin Records – deemed “pop music magic” by Allmusic editor Fred Thomas. The album combined elements of early New Wave, glam, soul, and roots-rock into a charming, effortlessly-catchy blend that recalled the ’70s heyday of smart pop music, and the band supported its release with a busy live schedule, including an appearance at Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival.
Buoyed by this success, the band returned to the studio almost immediately to begin working on the songs for 2014’s Pure Delight. Once again produced by Johnny Sangster, the aptly-titled EP features six Barr originals that showcase the breadth of his influences, including the swaying pub-soul of “I Want You to Worship Me,” the gospel-inspired lament of “Crow” (a duet with Nashville songwriter Shane Tutmarc), and the gin-swilling title track. New member Eric Bryson shares bass duties with Jim Sangster (Young Fresh Fellows, The Tripwires), imparting these recordings with a swing and confidence heretofore unheard in the band’s work.
Live, the band aspires to the ‘omni-pop’ crown of their heroes NRBQ, mixing selections from their substantial catalog with an extensive, diverse repertoire of well-chosen covers – interspersed with stage banter that displays a finely-tuned sense of the absurd.
Recommended if you like: NRBQ, Nick Lowe, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Alex Chilton, Garland Jeffreys, Graham Parker, Steve Forbert
Red Jacket Mine has shared the stage with Chuck Prophet, Alejandro Escovedo, Steve Forbert, Garland Jeffreys, The Minus 5, Ken Stringfellow (The Posies), Rebecca Gates (The Spinanes), Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers), Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols/The Faces), Bahamas, Loney Dear, Liam Finn, Jason Falkner, Richmond Fontaine, the 88, Apex Manor, Langhorne Slim, Everest, Retribution Gospel Choir, Glossary, Ian Moore, The Luyas, Jackie Greene, Reckless Kelly, Downpilot, The Devil Whale, Octoberman, and many, many more…
Hi-Res Promo Shots by Anna Hoychuk -
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praise for 2013′s Someone Else’s Cake
Red Jacket Mine have funneled a lifetime’s worth of spring afternoons listening to records into 11 cleanly polished and highly varied slices of pop music magic.
— Fred Thomas, AllMusic, February 11, 2013
This Seattle band’s latest album is their finest work to date. It’s a warm, soulful, expertly crafted set of ‘70s-inspired pop-rock combining elements of early New Wave, Steely Dan, glam-rock, soul, roots-rock and more into vibrant pop gems with clever lyrics and sharp song hooks.
— Don Yates, KEXP, January 18, 2013
Barr possesses one of those elastic, honey-soaked vocals that brings to mind the Rascals or the Guess Who…a joyful sound that makes for any number of welcome returns.
— Lee Zimmerman, No Depression, February 26, 2013
This is heart-and-soul songwriting, full of fire and wit and guts…easily, the best pop record I’ve heard this year.
— Simon Sweetman, Off the Tracks (New Zealand), March 27, 2013
…unabashed strains of Nick Lowe, Graham Parker, and Elvis Costello…three-minute pub rock rarely gets better.
— Mary Leary, Dagger Zine, March 4, 2013
Full of great songs, inventive musical arrangements and classy vocal harmonies…what more could you ask for?
— Alan Cackett, Maverick Country
other recent praise for Red Jacket Mine
Another smart, catchy and utterly delightful pop tune from this excellent Seattle outfit…RJM is getting ready to take over the world, I swear.
— Michael Toland on “Amy,” The Big Takeover, December 23, 2012
“Bellar & Bawl” marries choppy power pop guitars to insistent Memphian ivories, and all the tuneful swagger implied by that description should not be underestimated; this is a song destined, if musical justice prevails, to be covered by bar bands across the land – at first, second, third and last call.
— Fred Mills, Blurt Magazine, May 29, 2012
Barr has a special talent for making new hits with vintage sounds that are above pastiche.
— Chris Kornelis, Seattle Weekly’s Reverb, May 11, 2012
[Barr is] one of those talented songwriters who’s absorbed a tremendous amount of intelligent song craft and draws equally from across the board. This results not only in instrumentation but lyrics that you aren’t going to really get until tomorrow.
— Jason Dean Egan, 7 i n c h e s blog on “Bellar & Bawl,” July 9, 2012
One spin of the fresh off the griddle, new Red Jacket Mine 7″ and “man oh man”. What a breeze of spring air. Effortless and light but not weightless. A hit song somewhere in the cosmos.
— singer/songwriter Jeffrey Dean Foster on “Listen Up (If the World is Going to Hell),” March 17, 2012