"Jelly Roll.... Good for the sick, good for the young and old." -Lonnie Johnson
This ain’t no breakfast pastry. This ain’t no toaster waffle. This is a downright pungent hash of upswelling old-time yowl.
Like the very best of pickles, these songs have been bubbling away in a basement crock amongst raw garlic heads and fresh oak leaves. You can smell these songs from five miles away. You can hear them from even farther.
This album sprang out of our efforts to put on a great show, to clear the air with bursts of unruly, un-perfect, joyful sound. It came from houses, granges, and farm fields full of people singing at the top of their lungs. From standing out in the August heat of a Georgia market, getting the cheese maker and the pizza baker to stomp their feet and the kids to dance along. From sitting by the river while the mist comes up and voicing slow harmonies into the gloaming.
Our aim was not to re-create what the old-timers did, or to stay true to any notion of place or culture, but to let loose some droplets of the same spirit they poured into this music.
When we held a handful of old songs up to Georgia’s winter sunlight, this is what filtered through. We need this music, and we hope it has something to offer to the constant struggle we call the American soul, even in the New Millennium.
–Max Godfrey and Elias Alexander, May 2015
released May 30, 2015
Recorded by Damon Moon at The Cottage, Atlanta, GA
Additional recording at the Bui House, Cambridge, MA.
Mixed and Mastered by Dan Bui, Cambridge, MA.
Photography: Lauren Godfrey
Design by Steven Cline, Audrey Landry, and Elias Alexander.
To our teachers: Pete Sutherland, Mick Kinney, Tim Cummings,
Kerren Berz, Moira Nelligan, Murray Huggins
To the Godfrey family for putting up with our loud mouths and excessive amounts of tea.
To Shoshana Alexander for all the brown rice and vegetables, and oatmeal.
To Brent Hall and the Strasser family for hosting the kickstarter concert
To Kathleen Parks for the help with the fiddle solo.
To Lauren Godfrey for taking the photos.
To Audrey Landry for being so patient.
To the residents of the Bui Castle, for all their constant help and support.
And to all the artists who inspire us and who we learn from: The Skillet Lickers, Charlie Patton, Peg Leg Howell, Skip James, Charlie Parr, Rayna Gellert, Marcus Martin, Carl Martin, Big Bill Broonzy, Felix Davenport, Jesse Wadley, John Wadley, Will Jones, Charlie Butler, Woody Guthrie, Memphis Jug Band, Anna and Elizabeth, The Balfa Brothers, Howard Armstrong, Tommy Jarrell, Henry Thomas, Sam Amidon, Bessie Jones, Frank Berry, Carol and Louie Berry, Lou Southworth, and many more.
Elias dedicates this to The Great Country and Western singer Carol Berry.
Max dedicates it to Janisse Ray.
The New Millennium Jelly Rollers collectively dedicate this debut to:
People all over the world who leave the skillet greasy all the time.
Max plays a banjo made by Josh Davis of Frolona Farm, and a Martin guitar. His fiddles were fixed up by Voss Violins.
Elias plays Banton border pipes, a Martin guitar, Hohner marine band harmonicas, and a fiddle handmade by a very special, but unknown, person in China.