FAQs and Truths
Frequently Asked Questions that we passed along to Jymalot Music singer/musician/songwriter Jym for some answers. Questions are in italics.
When you write a song, do you start with lyrics or music?
Always the tune, always in the shower.
What kind of guitar do you use?
A low-end Ovation called Applause. Steel string. It's about 25 years old. Only guitar I ever had or probably ever will. I'm used to it. Any other guitar I pick up, I just can't play it with the same amazing ability.
Is that an old SOS reel-to-reel behind you in your website picture?
Wow! Good eye! Yep, an ex-friend of mine and I, we did a lot of music on that old recorder, some of it not horrible. One of these days, I'll convert it to cassette, then to CD, then get the marketing people to promote it as "Before Jymalot Music."
Who is that ex-friend you mention in your biography and what did he say that was shitty?
Just a guy I thought was a friend. He got a degree in social work, thought he knew some stuff, then tried to diagnose me. Dangerous. He never apologized.
Do your songs always reflect personal experience?
Not always, but mostly. Most of the lyrics are based on things in my life that affected me, a little or a lot. Most of the melodies just reflect my mood. Like most songwriters.
How can I get some of your older music on CD?
You can't. No release prior to No Shame was on CD. All that music is on cassette. That sort of makes it a collector's item, see, the value will skyrocket. Seriously, if anyone wants it, they could order cassette and convert it themselves to CD. Or maybe one day, I'll convert them to CD.
NOTE: You can now! All that music has been converted to CD so if you want it please email us.
How many fans are in the Jymalot Music Fan Club?
Unknown. Tootie, the club president, she keeps up with all that. I told her not long ago to bark once for each member, so I'm keeping count. Last night alone, I counted, like, 200.
Is it "Gotta Hawp" or "Gotta Hawmp" with an "m?" We've seen CDs with it both ways.
Well, on the first few CD covers, the "m" was left out and Hawmp was misspelled. We corrected it, which makes the first few another collector's item, huh?
Is "A Hundred Seasons" autobiographical? If so, what happened?
Yes. Her name was Jan. She slept with my friend, Dave. They apologized. But it broke my 19-year-old heart. And I have never really recovered.
What happened to your hair?
I got tired of looking like Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall so I made it all fall out on purpose. Really.
What do you like about living down in Louisiana?
What I like most is the level of honesty in people, especially people in politics and government. Louisiana is known globally as a state of highly-educated intellectuals. People here have an uncompromising devotion to integrity. Yeah, and I like wasps, stinging caterpillars, litter and incessant heat and humidity, too.
What do you do when you are not playing music?
I go to work, mow the yard, and look for girls with green eyes.
What's the future for Jymalot Music?
Another CD one of these days. Probably. Maybe. I don't know.
NOTE: Nowadays (2010), Jym just mows the yard and takes Charity out to fancy restaurants.
Hey, Jym here. It has been suggested by the people in the Public Relations Department at MyjStudios, along with staff at Fayth Productions, in consideration of fan requests and such, that I take some time and go through the songs posted here on the website, and explain the origins and meanings….the stories behind the songs.
I didn’t want to do that, and I argued with them, patiently explaining the songs mean what they mean to the listener. It doesn’t matter what the song means to me, the only meaning that matters is to who hears it. Also, I explained, annotating these songs would take a lot of time and I was busy what with mowing the yard, building the new deck, washing the Hummers and drinking.
Eventually, they talked me into the deal, though. So, what follows is the name of the song and some thing or things about it. Understand all of these songs are in some way, large and small, meaningful and meaningless, related to what goes on in my world. And, I will add, I took on the endeavor seriously, personally, and honestly. If I come across as a victim, know that I know I make my own bed. If I come across as self-absorbed, well, these songs, good or bad, they are my art. If I come across as a thoughtful, good-looking guy, that’s just great.
I was watching some movie or show on TV, and the characters were getting a divorce and one said to the other something about how much the divorce was going to cost, how expensive it would be for them both. I thought, true, but the real cost is not so much about money. The real expense is in what you lose inside of you. So, I went with those thoughts, found a sincere melody with minor chords in my heart, and this song came about. Most people can relate to the lyrics. I certainly can. She knows.
“Just Like You”
Written for that special type of someone who is simply void of the good qualities of a person‘s character. Oh sure, I had a particular low-life in mind, but the song’s about people that have no sense of truth, promise, commitment, honor, respect, courage. They need to be told off, and this I-hate-you-just-die-please anthem does the trick. I have a lot of fun with lyrics like these and the quick, up tempo style of the song implies that I am having a genuine good time. I had the idea, some of the lyrics around for a long time, and finally got around to getting a complete song out of the idea. Enjoy it, I do.
This is my favorite Jymalot Music song. Though I wrote it before I knew my wife, Charity, she thinks it’s a great song. It tells of hope and anticipation, but the minor chord progression, the C to Em change, just has to imply something‘s wrong. An unintentional(?), but autobiographical mix. For my voice, the song should really be in maybe F, not D, but I capo up a few frets, so important I thought was the C to Em change. The word, “Denham,” is not misspelled, but is a play on “denim,” the former being the name of the town in Louisiana where the jeans lived. I can’t believe this song is not playing on the radio somewhere. Life isn’t fair, huh?
This is a cool song. Very coffee house, I think, with a nice melody and a decent presentation. It was written some years ago after a run of relationships that didn’t work out for me. It describes what’s left after you love the shit out of someone, and, poof, they’re gone. The reference to “home” recurs in Jymalot Music songs, and that’s because I believe that home should be safe and secure and solid, and sometimes it ain’t.
“I Am Home”
One of my most heartfelt songs. Again, the “home” reference, and this time I am saying that my “home,” that place where love lives, that place that’s always there to count on, well, it’s wherever she is….she being the love interest. Pretty simple, but a nice tune. And for a guitar player who doesn’t play lead, I think the lead is okay. I’ve gotten some criticism in the past about my frequent use of that simple Am/C change, but you know what, I like it, so screw ‘em.
“Wreck In The Road”
This girl, yeah, always a girl, seemed like she invariably was gonna wreck her relationships. So, since I got to live out that experience first-hand, I came up with the car wreck analogy. And I put it, this fairly catchy tune, to a speedy little drum beat that sorta sounds like a car moving along over the seams in the road. Since I only have four tracks to use on the recorder at MyjStudios, the background vocals are thin. I like the resulting sound, though, so I talked the production staff into leaving it. At the bridge, where I sing, “Let me out,” I missed singing the preceding word to that phrase, which was “Meanwhile,” as in, “Meanwhile, let me out.” Significant? Hmmm, I don’t know.
“Rope And Gloves And Knives”
This is an interesting song, and I must say, unique. I have never heard another song presented from the serial killer’s point of view. Maybe there are some out there, but I haven’t heard them. The idea for such a thing came to me one night after watching a group of shows on TV…. Criminal Minds, a Law and Order, Dexter. All of these shows told the story through the mind of the serial killer. Even the shows where the good guys are the stars and they are trying to catch the serial killer, they catch him by thinking like him. Remember the movie, Manhunter? Great movie, and in that movie, the FBI guy catches the killer by identifying, becoming of the killer’s mindset. I thought that a fascinating thing. So, this song is my take on that. Because I wanted it to sound a bit creepy, I sing falsetto, like Neil Young, sorta. And I don’t mind admitting the Am/F change is also reflective of Neil Young’s “Cowgirl In The Sand.“ Also, it’s the first song I ever played harmonica on. Even the harmonica is creepy. I think it works.
“Ice Cream Sandwich”
A two-level song. Sort of my attempt at The Simpsons, where the story operates on two levels. So, if you’re 11, or Stacie (couldn’t resist…), the song is all about eating an ice cream sandwich. The other level, that’s about eating a…nice….cream sandwich. Extremely sexual, indeed. And the song came to me complete, all the chords, all the melody, all the lyrics, all at the same time on my screen porch at the river house in Louisiana, as I was playing around on my guitar for Charity. True fact. Ask Charity.
“Under My Thumb”
The only cover song on the website. I very seldom cover. No interest in it. But I have always said the Stones did two great songs…. “Between A Rock And A Hard Place” and this song. The rest was junk. (I wonder what Mick would think of Jymalot Music!) Anyway, relax Mick, be proud, I covered your song, and this is my version of that really cool Stones’ song. I like my vocals. And there’s more to the story. When Charity and I got married, barefoot on the beach, I thought we should do our first dance to this song. That’s sooooo wrong. She nixed my idea.
“Feels Like I’m Waiting…”
From a period in my life when, for some reason, stuff around me didn’t seem to mean much, and I had this belief that something was gonna happen, good, bad, didn’t know. Just felt like I was waiting on something. Artists in most venues will relate, and will tell you, strong emotions, positive or negative, often are the catalysts for their art. Trying to be unemotionally creative is like painting the walls in a room, not a painting a picture to hang on the wall. This is a nice tune and a decent presentation. My best harmonica, I think. I’ve gotten a few compliments on the song, I think Robbie said he liked it. And, and I say, if you call a public hospital in Louisiana and you get put on hold, this is the song you hear playing while you wait. That’s a fact. Call Earl K. Long in Baton Rouge and see.
“Can’t Say No”
This is my effort at being the Everly Brothers. A two-part harmony song, written straight up for Charity. I don’t know why I sing it with this slight British accent. Indeed. Wylene liked it. I like the bridge….”when I see those eyes of blue.” That’s pretty.
“Once In Awhile”
I guess I was feeling like things just weren’t working out for me. I mean, at the time I wrote this, it was during that run of good luck gone bad in relationships, so, yes, it’s another relationship song, born of that period. But, deeper, it’s a reminder that, in this world, nothing is fair, nothing is forever. So, maybe you’d better watch it, ‘cause just when there’s smooth sailing, clear skies and you’ve got yourself a fresh daiquiri, trouble lurks. Here comes the rain. Alas, George said here comes the sun, Jymalot Music says here comes the rain. There’s your difference between George and Jym. That and the hundreds of millions of dollars. But the melody and chords fit the mood of my song, and I like that. Another harmonica, but not too much, and it’s a very woeful sound. Just right. Oh, and there’s that Em/C business again.
“Who Might Be There”
I was in this heavy thing with this girl (she knows who she is). And she was gonna introduce me to her family at this upcoming party. She was telling me who would be there and who was related and how, and who had slept with whom (shamefully trailer-parky), and who’s ex would be there, and what to say and what not to say (I‘m 50 years old, for crying out loud!), and, lest we forget, Daddy The Great And Powerful will be there and maybe his ex, the Mom, and what if Daddy brings his young girlfriend, and on and on. I thought, what a soap opera, not to mention waste of time on what other people think. The lines in the bridge, “And maybe you could find me chatting with the boys out by the grill, or maybe you could find me hanging from a tree up on the hill,” is one of my favorite Jymalot Music lyrics. For some reason, my own mom seemed to like this song. Wow. I think this song could use another rhythm guitar, make it thicker at the chorus.
“The Word Is”
I don’t think there is any real connection to my personal life and this song. Oh, maybe it’s subconsciously born of my law enforcement career where it seemed I was more the hunted than the hunter, but I really think it’s just a song. The tune was developed in the shower, along with a few lyrics. I remember I ran to my little tape recorder where I put down my ideas and sang a bit to remember it. When it came time to really write the song, it just came out easily. And I think it’s one of Jymalot Music’s coolest songs. Good lyrics, tune, guitar playing, very catchy. Tim McGraw should cover it. That aside, it’s Charity’s ringtone.
We are all familiar with the phrase/concept that timing is everything. I’ve never used the phrase as an explanation for why something did or did not work out, but the phrase was used to explain things to me several times. And so, from that, this song was hatched. Although I have not gotten many compliments on it, “Tyme” is maybe my second favorite Jymalot Music song. It’s got good structure, and is presented about as good as I can do. The title is spelled the way it is to imply double meaning, so the listener might be pensive with the lyrics. Really, “Tyme” is a double metaphor for the reality of time and the woman. Maybe I’m not being fair, but I’m just not gonna explain this any further because the beauty of the meaning here really is in the eyes of the beholder. But see/hear it in both contexts, and you will have a goddamn epiphany. I love the song and wouldn‘t change one note or one word.
“Inside My Brain”
Written during an evening of pills and liquor, wherein I was feeling mired in the muck of self-pity and depression over who knows what, I don’t know. But I always liked the lines, “Always, days of pain,” and “The nights inside my brain, here I go, again.” I was either venting or pouting, I think. I feel those things strongly, but not for very long.
This is another great Jymalot Music song. It’s about people who will just not stand with their relationship. At all costs, to everyone except them, they would rather run than stand. This, of course, reflects on my own moments of being abandoned, but it‘s written from the runner‘s point of view. Interesting, huh? Although I think some of the verse lines are weak, I think the chorus is perfect. The lyrics match with the song‘s rhythm really well. “Why stay when I can run, even if they were the one, one more step and then I’m done, they have lost and I have won, why stand when I can run, this is not another con, they have lost and I have won, run, run, run…” The background harmony really hits it. I like that there is even some subliminal sarcasm, as in like let’s throw out the baby with the wash, kinda. Note that my second rhythm guitar is a bit out of tune, but it sounds cool, so I left it.
Now here’s a song that needs some ‘splainin’. Here’s the deal…. Charity and I were excitedly headed to Amelia Island in the Atlantic to enjoy the ocean, walk on the sand, lay in the sun, drink all day, and, oh yeah, get married. And I had just been to the dermatologist to get some pre-cancer things frozen off the top of my bald head. Well, you put those things together, throw in a rum and coke, and you get this song. It’s just a weird song, with a commensurate presentation. Works perfectly. The penis thing, I don’t know. I’d have to ask a therapist.
“It’s Not Shocking Me”
Totally autobiographical. My friends know all the shit in this song is me (except I don‘t prefer scotch,). Simple C/F/G set, throw in an Am, I think, but it was fun to write and perform. And the lyrics are deeper than they appear. Listen close.
Okay, Billy Dedon might not be a real person. It is the name I have given to that which I most despise, and it is what he represents to me that makes him so reprehensible. You see, nothing in this world is worse than injustice. Nothing. To bring injustice upon someone is the lowest act of the low. I will not go into what he did to me, but his acts upon me were so unjust, the sick helplessness I felt then was burned into me. It never left, and so, as I carry that around with me every single day, there is nothing I come across that so stirs my emotions more than injustice. And when it has happened in life that I, or even a friend or family member, has been treated unfairly or with injustice, I then, now and forever, react strongly. Yes, I know life isn’t fair, but grown people shouldn’t be allowed to get away with unfairly, intentionally crushing the hopes and dreams and spirits of others, especially kids. So, Billy Dedon, I would kill him mercilessly, with no moral concerns, if there were no laws against it. Alas, there are, so he‘s safe from me. Meanwhile, the prick bastard just will not die on his own. I look regularly in the obits, waiting, fingers crossed. But, hey, gives me an extra reason to keep on living, so I can smile when he’s dead. Now that you know, the song makes sense, huh? Note the primal scream near the end. Every bit as strong as John’s, I think, and just as cathartic.
A deeply personal song about my ex-wife, written not long after she left me to be with the janitor at her office, with whom she explained, she had more in common. Well, I guess so. Anyway, I have always been intrigued with the concept of how a photograph freezes time. It’s like a glimpse. For example, you are driving down the road and you pass by this house, and as you pass, you catch a glimpse of this man leaning down to this little girl and maybe there was a woman in the doorway, smiling, and he was maybe just about to pick the child up or was he going to kiss her cheek, and did the woman join in the embrace and who was the man, her husband, the little girl’s father, who? You see, that image, that is all you know, but it can tell you such a story. And so, as I looked around in my 4000 square foot home decorated with all these pictures of me and my ex-wife, in all these moments frozen forever, this song evolved. There she was, in that picture where she loved me forever, but, in reality, she was gone, just as forever. I think the lyrics in this song are wonderful, and it’s written with a series of major-seven chords, so it sounds pretty, but sad. The recording was done about 3 a.m., just me and the guitar, one last take, and I won’t do the song ever again. So, you get what you get.
This is another “I hate you” song, born from that pesky injustice thing. I was gonna take it off the site because the five-foot-three piece of shit guy that I wrote the song about, well, he should just be a piece of shit and not a song. Just a coward that I knew. But the four-chords, round and round, remind me of some early sixties stuff from my youth. And if you listen really, really close to the very end of the song, the very end, there’s an important message. Anyway, I’ve gotten to like the sound of me singing, “Phukwytcling” really loud with an electric guitar, so it stays.
When I moved to Alabama from Louisiana, I found myself with no family or friends. Except for my wife, none, no one. I did not think that would bother me. I was wrong. It felt like, well, like the relationship with my family and friends was over, gone, done, finished….much like a divorce or the end of any important relationship. So, this song is about both those types of endings…the feelings, whether from moving or when they leave you for someone else. It feels the same. (For the record, my family and friends didn’t move, I did. Doesn’t change a thing.) Even at mid-tempo, it’s a sad, sad song to me.
This is a pretty song, and I’m proud of it. One fan emailed me, saying it was “pure genius.” Another just said, “Wow.” I actually had a lot of trouble getting it recorded, and the final version is something of a composite of several takes. In fact, I almost gave up on the song, but I’m glad I didn’t. It’s a tune I came up with sitting on the couch, numbly watching TV, and my mind stumbled upon the melody, thoughts and feelings invoked here. Obviously, it’s about how right and wrong love can be, and isn’t that an amazing thing? It’s well performed, I think, and my vocals are about as good as I can do.
“Stop Livin’ To Stay Alive”
We are constantly, constantly I say, terrorized that most everything we do, essentially the fun things, are gonna kill us any minute. It’s born of the old religious warnings, and latter day scientific hysteria, that what makes you feel good is bad, bad, bad. Stop doing it! Well, this is my response, and, although I take advantage of some lyrical liberties, there is a lot of truth in it. A catchy tune that I did not have to work at. Just a cool song, kinda clever.
“Since You’ve Been Gone”
I love this song. It’s clear what it’s about, and, for your senses, the lyrics will follow. But what appeals to me is how everything about this song fits… the lyrics with the melody with the presentation. And I don’t care what other songwriters might say about my use of that simple Am/C thing, I just like it, so shut up. Plus, the Dm/Gm/F/C progression makes up for it. That’s a wonderful musical trick, I think, where the vocal holds a single note through a few measures of chord changes. For somebody that can’t much sing, I sing it well, too. Damn, it’s a good song. Why isn’t it on the radio? CLICK HERE FOR LYRICS
This love song is so damn good, what can I tell you…. It’s good no matter what anyone else thinks, but I believe that most anyone will appreciate it. The lyrics are uncomplicated, but sweet, and the melody is pretty. The presentation, the recording itself on this song, is wonderful. From a songwriter with a 4-track and limited patience, this song emerges beautifully. The keyboard/guitar mix is the best thing since The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds,“ and my vocals are sincere, honest and true to the lyrics and melody. It’s another song where a series of chord changes are happening while I am holding a single vocal note. Seriously, I hope that someone, somewhere will appreciate this song and let me know. The song originated not from a tune, but from a chord progression I came up with. Unusual, but I’m glad for it. The lyrics are inspired by the woman I so love.
This is, again, a two-part harmony song, with me being the Everly Brothers. Lyrically, it’s a plea not to be used and abused, but what makes this song a favorite is the simple, honest poetic hope that she will be true to me. An uncomplicated chord set accompanies an uncomplicated rhythm pattern that confirms the honesty in this song. Good vocals, I think. It’s on this website because it’s just a nice, catchy, honest tune. Another song that came to mind, me sitting on the couch, daydreaming. I ran downstairs to my pocket recorder, sang the idea, melody and the words “tell me,” a cappella, fingers snapping. Went back later and filled in the blanks. It was easy and fun, as often is the case with good songs.