Wanderlust: a great desire to travel and rove about. -Collins English Dictionary
As an exercise in curiosity, I’m attempting to add up all the times I’ve moved in my life. Current count: 31. But I’m fairly sure I’m forgetting a few. I’ve inherited several things from my mother: an Irish disposition, a fair complexion and her chronic dissatisfaction. Perhaps the latter is what fuels my wanderlust. I believe it does fuel hers.
Maybe she transferred her lust-wandering gene to me in the womb. As a small child of 4 or 5 many a quiet afternoon was spent tracing and coloring maps of the country, maps of the world.
Perhaps the wanderlust was fueled at age 7 when we met groups of gypsies caravanning through KOA campgrounds the summer we moved from Oswego, New York to northern Minnesota. I remember the giggles and playfulness of one brown skinned, dark eyed little girl as she tried to get me to trade a dime for her “much bigger” nickel. By the time I asked my mother for the dime—and she scolded me for nearly falling prey to the scam—it was too late. I’d already fallen under the spell of this beautiful little gypsy girl’s adventurous and carefree spirit.
In my teens I dreamed of traveling around the world, preaching and singing the gospel of Jesus alongside a passionate, fire and brimstone preacher husband. A product of a strict Catholic then Pentecostal upbringing, I didn’t know much about the gray and gritty nuances of life. Or love. But the more I learned about “The World” (as the church used to call it), the more I wanted to see it all.
A few years back, my life seemed fairly settled. My college experience—including a semester overseas—temporarily satisfied my wanderlust and I had a good career in the tech industry. I was living with my long-term boyfriend and had become more emotionally and financially stable than I had been in my 20’s. But when the relationship started to decay, I fell apart and down into depression, questioning everything I believed, everything I thought I was.
But then a miracle happened: quite unexpectedly, music and poetry sprung up in my brain, the way it had when I was a child. Much like speaking in tongues—something I was very familiar with—songs gushed out almost uncontrollably and I began to record them, capturing early demos of my music, sans instrumentation.
With this rediscovered love of music I started to explore new territories: seeking out mentors, bands and
musicians that inspired me, learning guitar and finally putting together my first band, Jezebel Jones & Her Wicked Ways in 2010. In late 2011 we released our first record ‘Queen of the Devil’s Rodeo’.
It’s been a several years since the music baptized me again and my life has changed completely. Songwriting has become my lover, my shrink, my favorite traveling companion, my rock, my salvation.
Music satisfies my wanderlust in many ways; the artists and musicians who inspire me are exceptionally imaginative and I am transported to their worlds often. Fans and fellow listeners often turn me on to new music and I’m always grateful for their recommendations. Genre isn’t as important, but my tendencies do run towards the haunting, raw and mystical side of the folk/roots revival; Timber Timbre, First Aid Kit, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, Swallows, Jay Munly and Karen Elson are current favorites, among so many.
Yet music stirs up my wanderlust, too. It makes me want to be on the road more, meeting new friends, getting exposed to unique musical experiences and offering up some small tidbits of my own. It’s a longing to find and connect with other members of my tribe, my family: those who appreciate music lovingly and individually crafted by hand, by guts and by heart.
Former Pentecostal-turned-unrepentant sinner, Jezebel Jones is shaking things up with her unique blend of dark folk, rockabilly and country. Her debut album “Queen of the Devil’s Rodeo” has attracted the notice of music critics, fellow musicians and fans worldwide. She has been blessed to share the stage with many talented, unique artists including Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Boiled in Lead and Lydia Loveless. Jezebel currently resides in Austin, TX.
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