home listen a- z back next
Jeff Black

A Conversation with Jeff Black (continued)

PM: I really love Tin Lily. You're really remarkably consistent. Did you have to write a bunch of songs to get there, or did the next dozen songs end up on the record?

JB: I'm always writing songs. A while back somebody wrote me an email, congratulating me on the release date of Tin Lily. And I remember joking with a friend, "Well, I'll be releasing this record until I make another one."

PM: [laughs]

JB: I'm always thinking about situations and things I want to say. And so it all came together quite different than probably any of the other records, and also it came together exactly the same. It's just really hard to explain the way it happens. It's not like I sit down and try to write a dozen songs for a record. I was in an old meeting house up in Kentucky, and we were walking around in this room. And this guy, just in passing, happened to mention this lantern hanging on the wall, this sconce, or whatever you want to call it. And it was just a simple little candle with some handsmithed tin behind it. And he said that the folks used to call this a Tin Lily.

PM: Wow.

JB: Then he went on and was talking about some other things. And that just got etched in my mind. Like a hammer and a chisel, and there it was, and I could never shake it. It haunted me for years. And I was just trying to find a place for what that represented and why it was so important to me. And it still tries to reveal itself to me. But it came from the idea of the lights and the symbolism of the lilies and everything surrounding it, and it created this foggy mist of an idea about how fragile the strongest people I know are, and how strong the most fragile people I know are, and that's where that idea stemmed from for this record. I don't know if that really answers the question, or--

PM: Whether it does or not, it's beautiful. That's good enough.


JB: But that's where that started. That's where the whole idea for Tin Lily came from. Beyond that, the songs and some of those ideas, they changed their minds on their own. They're certainly little--they're all independents flying on their own free will, and then they kind of decide where they want to live, and what songs they want to live with.

PM: Absolutely. It's amazing how quick songs develop lives of their own. They just grow up really fast. They're half out of your mouth or out of your hand--

JB: Yeah.

PM: --before they're dictating your next move.

JB: And then the meanings change over time. Sometimes they work on complex levels, or sometimes they just work pretty much on the surface, and you apply that to whatever you might be going through, or the little episodes in your life. I'm just lucky I have the luxury to be able to document it.  continue

print (pdf)     listen to clips      puremusic home