When JT Lindsay last ventured into town he was blazing away with his band JT and the Clouds. But when Lindsay returns to Santa Barbara on Saturday night for a second Sings Like Hell showing, he won’t have the talents of his band to hide behind. This time around he’s going at it alone-well, almost alone. With just Chris Neal at his side on organ and piano, Lindsay has decided it is time to truly open both his songbook and his heart to those who care to listen.
“The best litmus best test for any song is if it still comes across in its most naked format,” offered Lindsay via phone. “And it doesn’t come any more naked than this-unless it’s going to be me accompanying myself on bongos or something. It won’t be a big grooving affair like last time. And I won’t have the Clouds there covering up my mistakes on guitar either; so that will also be laid bare too.”
But don’t expect Lindsay to be showing up to the Lobero with a election of stripped-back Clouds songs. Instead, he’ll be taking to the stage under the name “JT Nero.” While the Nero moniker might very well be a vehicle for his solo musings, one quickly senses that it’s also a persona that allows him to pen some contemplative and seriously reflective tunes.
“Sometimes a group of songs come out together for a reason,” offered Lindsay. “There’s an emotional thread here, and they are definitely a group of songs that were meant to be together because they are such fragile things. Both the songs and the persona come from the same place and I created the name JT Nero as a way to make fun of it a little bit. But it is coming from a dark and trying place, so Santa Barbara is just going to have to deal with a little bit of misery for 45 minutes.”
Along with completing the JT Nero album, Lindsay spent a week in Austin, Texas with the Clouds and the Po’Girls, where they collectively dove headfirst into the madness that is South by Southwest. Having since returned to Austin to lend a hand to the recording of a new Po’ Girl album, Lindsay is now preparing for a UK tour and the recording of a new Clouds album in fall.
“What have I got to give, but my time?” questioned Lindsay.
On the strength of what we have heard thus far, quite a lot we would say:
JT Nero will play the Lobero Theatre (33. E. Canon Perdido St.) with Pine Leaf Boys on Saturday, June 21 at 8 p.m. Call 963-0761 or visit singslikehell.com for tickets.